We like to tell good news stories, and this one by Kendall Worth you don’t want to miss. A young woman on income assistance gets to go to university, and she credits the free bus pass as the reason it all got started.
We talk with an older woman on income assistance who, as a result of a cut to her special needs allowance, has lost her ability to go to medical appointments and grocery trips. But we saved the tax payer some $50 a month. This is what austerity looks like in Nova Scotia.
Kendall Worth catches up with a young woman who lives in Beaver Bank and finds out how the bus pass has improved her life.
Kendall Worth meets up with a couple on income assistance, all set to do a serious job search now that they have a free bus pass and a phone. Just goes to show what a difference access to public transportation makes. “Now that we have both the bus pass and the phone, we are planning to get down to business with looking for meaningful employment,” Peter and Peggy tell Kendall. “Kendall, we are tired of living with the bureaucratic nonsense. We are tired of it, and we hope that now that we got our free bus pass we can get off this system.”
Kendall Worth on the difficulties of searching for a job without a phone, and why a phone is a basic necessity for a person on income assistance.
Finally we learn some details around the free bus pass for people on social assistance who live in HRM.
Don’t get me wrong, free bus passes for all Halifax residents on social assistance is a good thing. But what about the people in rural NS? And what about the people who will lose their transportation special needs subsidy? Always constructive, I also offer a solution: Raise the rates!
This year’s provincial budget does very little for people on income assistance. The government keeps Income assistance rates the same, while it offers a few crumbs to point to when criticized.
Kendall Worth about the people on income assistance he encounters here in in Halifax who worry about free bus passes becoming available this spring. “Don’t’ get me wrong. I do agree that there is a strong need for all income assistance recipients, and anyone living in poverty for that matter, to have access to free bus passes. I know quite a few people who are excited about the free bus passes becoming available. But for some it will mean $78 less each month for rent or groceries,” he writes.
Councillors on the Halifax Transportation Committee are recommending that the bus pass discount pilot project be expanded. The program allows low income Haligonians to buy a bus pass for half the price. Some say access to transportation is a basic necessity, and the City could do much better.