Free Bus Pass Pilot Program Expanding in Cape Breton Regional Municipality
Government is expanding a pilot program offering free monthly bus passes and subsidized taxi service in Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) with a goal of creating better transportation options for those living on lower incomes.
“Transportation is a key element in keeping people connected to their communities – whether it be for appointments, employment, shopping or community events,” said Derek Mombourquette, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development and MLA for Sydney-Whitney Pier, on behalf of Kelly Regan, Minister of Community Services. “We know there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to community transportation. This hybrid pilot will help us to identify what works, what doesn’t and how we can improve transportation for Nova Scotians living on lower incomes in CBRM.”
The expanded program will begin on Aug. 1 and last for one year. Up to 100 people with lower incomes will receive a free monthly Transit Cape Breton bus pass and subsidized taxi service when transit service is unavailable.
The Department of Community Services has worked with community partners and organizations for the past few years on transportation options within CBRM. This expanded program supports work led by United Way Cape Breton, which provides transportation for people with low incomes for employment- or education-related needs.
Having accessible transportation helps people feel more connected to and supported by their community. We are very excited to have this opportunity to expand upon our work in CBRM. Not only does it make it easier for people to travel to and from work, the freedom it brings can improve mental health.
Lynne McCarron, executive director, United Way Cape Breton
All residents of Cape Breton Regional Municipality can benefit from a convenient and accessible public transportation system. Low-income residents participating in this program can access these services to fully participate in the economy, events, and make positive connections in the community.
Amanda McDougall, mayor, Cape Breton Regional Municipality
- subsidized taxi rides will cost clients between $4 and $7 per ride
- the Department of Community Services will invest about $213,000 in the expanded pilot program, with CBRM covering 50 per cent of the bus pass cost
- before this expansion, 31 Nova Scotians living on lower incomes received transportation support in CBRM through the current program
- Employment Support and Income Assistance currently provides a transportation allowance of up to $150 per month to clients for medical or employment-related reasons
Bridging the Gap Transportation Pilot Evaluation: https://www.unitedwaycapebreton.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/TIL_BTG-Evaluation-Report-Mid-Way-Pilot-Fourth-Month-.pdf
Free Halifax Regional Municipality Bus Pass Program Becomes Permanent (provincial news release): https://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20210624003