Starting Sept. 1, 2021, children 12 and under will be able to “Get on Board” any BC Transit or TransLink service for free as part of the provincial government’s commitment to efficient, reliable and affordable transit for families.
“Free transit for children 12 and under makes life more affordable for families,” said Premier John Horgan. “Taking public transit is a great choice. It offers a cleaner, low-carbon way of getting around that works for people, communities and the environment. The ‘Get on Board’ program will also encourage a new generation of transit riders.”
Anyone who typically buys fares or monthly bus passes for children 12 and under will no longer need to do so. For example, a family that buys their child a $57 monthly TransLink pass for a year would save more than $687, while savings on a BC Transit children’s pass, at an average cost of $35 per month, would add up to $420 a year.
“We are excited to launch a program that will benefit parents and caregivers and make life more affordable for families across B.C.,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “As we rebuild transit systems and ridership after the pandemic, this new program will encourage people to get onboard with the potential to save families hundreds of dollars every year.”
It is estimated that approximately 370,000 children 12 and under throughout B.C. will be eligible to ride for free when the program is launched. This also supports sustainable and active transportation options for children and families in all regions of the province.
“This initiative will create lifelong transit riders, build better, more inclusive and sustainable communities and move us all further along the pathway to cleaner and stronger British Columbia,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and Minister Responsible for TransLink. “More people choosing public transit means fewer vehicles on the road, reduced traffic congestion and cleaner air for everyone.”
To help build awareness for the upcoming launch of this program, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has released an official logo featuring the slogan “Get on Board – Kids 12 and Under Ride Free.” TransLink and BC Transit will incorporate the provincewide “Get on Board – Kids 12 and Under Ride Free” branding into their marketing materials to raise awareness as the program moves forward.
Depending on the mode of public transit and service provider (TransLink or BC Transit), there are slight differences in the program’s initial rollout.
- Children 12 and under will be able to ride buses for free anywhere in the TransLink service area without requiring a transit pass, identification or an accompanying fare-paying customer.
- For TransLink fare-gated services (such as Skytrain, SeaBus, and the West Coast Express), accompaniment by a fare-paying customer will be required to tap children aged 12 and under, and riding free of charge through the fare gates, up to a maximum of four children.
- Children 12 and under will continue to be able to access the gated systems by themselves with the purchase of a fare to tap through the gates.
- Children 12 and under who are registered HandyDART customers or children who are accompanying a registered HandyDART customer will be able to travel for free on HandyDART without requiring a fare product or identification.
- Starting Sept. 1, 2021, children under 12 may apply to register as a HandyDART customer. To be eligible to register for HandyDART, children must be unable to take conventional transit due to a disability.
- Children on HandyDART must be accompanied by an adult.
- Unaccompanied children aged six to 12 will be able to ride buses and HandyDART for free, without requiring a fare product or identification.
- BC Transit will require children aged five and under to be accompanied by a person 12 or older.
While travel for children 12 and under will be free, parents/guardians remain responsible for providing adequate provisions for the safety and care of their children whenever travelling on transit, including when travelling unaccompanied and determining if their children may take transit unaccompanied.