Triple A Transit: Affordable, Available and Accessible

October 09, 2015

On Thursday October 15, 2015 SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement hosted a panel in partnership with Surrey Urban Mission, Collingwood Neighbourhood House, the City of Vancouver, and the Transit Working Group titled, “Triple A Transit: Affordable, Available and Accessible.”

Click here to watch the Triple A Transit panel!

Peter Greenwell, member of the Transit Working Group and Coordinator of Homeless Programs at Collingwood Neighbourhood House, answered a few questions for us in reflection on the event.

What is the Transit Working Group (TWG), and what is your mandate? 

The TWG is spearheading the development of affordable transit for people living in poverty, especially for homeless and homeless at risk people in Metro Vancouver.   We are focusing on establishing a regional committee of key decision-makers with the responsibility of developing a regional homeless transit plan for Metro Vancouver. We are a subcommittee of Vancouver Urban Core Community Workers Association and are co-sponsored by the Greater Vancouver Shelter Strategy.

What was the aim of Triple A Transit? 

To demonstrate good examples of existing program in cities close to Vancouver that provides improved low-income access without stigmatizing people who depend on public transit and live in poverty.  

What were the highlights of the evening, for you personally and the rest of your colleagues? 

It’s doable. It possible to improve access for low-income people, and it’s possible to do it an effective, affordable non-stigmatizing way. A unique feature of King County is their partnership with their local health authority who ensures eligibility criteria are met. This results in an extremely accessible application/renewal process that also reduces duplication of financial need confirmations, making it easier for people to successfully demonstrate eligibility. A highlight from Calgary is their recognition that poverty is the issue versus age focusing on any special needs group such as seniors or the disabled, and their proposed fare sliding scale that looks at a ‘living wage’ as a realistic cut off point for some level of assistance (people living at 130% of the Low Income Cut Off widely recognized as Canada’s poverty line).

What do you hope participants took away from the conversation? 

There are models available to ensure people living in poverty—especially the homeless and homeless at risk—for us to learn from, we aren’t don’t have to start from scratch. It’s being done in lots of other cities now, we just need to political will.

How can participants (and others) contribute to advocating for accessible transit?

 Endorse the work of the TWG, in particular to reduce barriers for people trying to exit homelessness and get on with their lives. Become more aware of the issues at www.vuccwa/transit-working-group Endorse the proposal of the TWG to create a regional homeless transit planning table by emailing Write the Mayor’s Council and urge them to empower TransLink to waive transit fines for people who can demonstrate significant economic hardship as the reason for not paying fares. Engage in TransLink’s Transport 2040 review; Stress that Goal 3.3 of Transport 2040 must recognize economic barriers, not just age or disability related barriers. Raise transit access issues at every public opportunity including with their Mayor’s and Council, provincial government and any community transportation meetings

Any other reflections on the evening? 

Audience members shared their fears and frustrations about transit and demonstrated the issues that were identified in the presentations. Recommendations from the audience included asking the Provincial Government to provide posters to TransLink reminding people of existing transit programs and upcoming critical dates – for example renewals for the 2016 BC Bus Pass are due asap; request the fare gates not be implemented until affordability is addressed, and for Compass card deposit of $6 be waived where extreme poverty can be demonstrated. The TWG is following up on these and other recommendations.

The TWG believes that Transit is part of the solution to homelessness by enabling people to access shelter, housing and critical appointments. The goal is to end homelessness, and the TWG recommendations support that goal.

Latest/Related Updates

  • August 15, 2023

    August 15, 2023

    With details of our 5-year anniversary celebration event to come, let’s take a sneak peek of the upcoming season.

  • July 26, 2023

    July 26, 2023

    Since September 2022, we’ve held 42 events and workshops, released 33 episodes, and engaged more than 25,000 podcast listeners. During that time, working diligently behind the scenes—editing podcast audio, and supporting communications and events programming—was our interim Programs Assistant Samantha Walters, who we are pleased to announce has now moved into a continuing role in the office.

  • July 20, 2023

    July 20, 2023

    On June 29, 2023, 200 people turned out for the world premiere screening of Smokey Devil: Underworld Street Reporter, a feature length documentary by Nathaniel Canuel, co-hosted by SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement.

  • June 29, 2023

    June 29, 2023

    On our latest spring season of the podcast, we had the chance to sit down with five SCA artist-scholars for some exciting discussions on their artistic practices and latest research. Whether you're looking to hear more about arts education and the local arts ecology, or just seeking some artistic inspiration, we hope you join us in diving back into these episodes.

  • June 13, 2023

    June 13, 2023

    Released every spring, Voices of the Street (VOTS) is a compendium of writing by Megaphone community members, a space for exploration of creative expression through language.


Stay Up to Date

Get the latest on upcoming events by subscribing to our newsletter below.