Alberta Education looks to partner with Calgary on subsidized student transit passes
An additional 1,500 Calgary Board of Education students will be accessing Calgary Transit in the upcoming school year
Amid an influx of Calgary Board of Education students accessing Calgary Transit to get to school next year, Alberta’s education minister said he’s looking to partner with the city to create a new student transit pass.
In June, the CBE announced that another 1,500 students would be moved off yellow school buses and onto city transit. This change has some students attending alternative programs and taking city transit – with an increase in fees of more than 100 per cent.
On Tuesday, Education Minister David Eggen said although he’s aware of the issue, he won’t allow it in the future.
“That’s not going to happen. We’ll work that through. People will not see that sort of increase,” he said. “I mean any increase over 5 per cent has to come by my desk. Not because I want to be controlling, but because we’re in a transition point here and I want to see how everything is coming out.”
Eggen said this issue with transportation at the CBE is one reason for the operational review his ministry will be doing of the CBE in August.
“An operational review is a good way to perhaps see where they’re at with transportation and why things are so much more different than maybe some other boards, and try to help out,” he said.
“It’s not a punitive thing.”
Eggen said as the CBE moves more kids off yellow school buses and onto Calgary Transit he’d like to work with the city to improve accessibility through a new student bus pass.
“I’d like to see some kind of student bus pass where there’s a cheaper bus pass and makes the whole thing a lot cleaner—a kid gets a student bus pass brought down in price and with our subsidies, it could be very cheap,” he said. “It’s possible. We’ll work with the City of Calgary over the next year to see if they might like that.”
The CBE said the School Act states that any fees or costs a parent is charged by a board may only be used for the purpose they were collected for, which means they can’t use the same system for these bus passes that Calgary Transit and the U of C use where all U of C students pay for the UPass whether they use transit or not.
“Costs couldn’t be spread across the whole system. Actual Calgary Transit ridership numbers for CBE students are not high enough to provide a discounted pass similar to the UPass,” according to the CBE.
By: Lucie Edwardson Metro Published on Thu Jul 13 2017