Push on to reinstate LTC senior discount
Daryl Newcombe, CTV London
Published Thursday, December 6, 2018 6:55PM EST
Some are calling a decision to discontinue the senior discount for LTC bus passes and tickets in favour of a discount for low income Londoners unfair.
London city council made the decision in January 2018 to end the 25 per cent senior discount and instead to fund a pilot project that would see the discount applied based on income.
But seniors who earn just above that poverty threshold say paying full price for transit - $81 for an LTC bus pass - has become a burden.
Now Councillor Michael van Holst plans to push to reinstate the senior discount, in addition to the low income program.
“People tell me at the end of the month they don't have money for food, so whatever we take from them makes them go hungry longer. That's something we really need to look seriously at.”
But it’s a pricey proposal, with city hall saying the 25 per cent discount on all rides for seniors cost $434,000 a year.
Councillor Phil Squire sits on the London Transit Commission, and never supported eliminating the discount and has heard the concern from seniors loud and clear.
“Seniors who just get over that income threshold that we provided for the low income pass still need help, they have indicated that quite clearly to me.”
Squire believes the cost to reinstate the senior discount should not be the responsibility of city hall and by extension the taxpayer.
Instead, he says if the LTC benefits from increased ridership, then it should find room in its budget for some or all of the expense.
“I don't think there is any reason why we can't do something in 2019, if we have the will to help out seniors in some way, I want to be talking about it very early in the new year,” Squire says.
Van Holst's letter calling to reinstate the discount is expected to be directed to the Community and Protective Services committee meeting.