EssentialsMoney SavingTransit

Low Income Transit Passes for British Columbia

EssentialsMoney SavingTransit

Low Income Transit Passes for British Columbia

There’s really no other way to describe the pandemic than to say it really sucks. Even though the mantra is that we’re all in this together, the reality is that COVID-19 and the subsequent quarantine has impacted everyone differently. Some people have been able to make the switch to working from home without too much difficulty. Others have struggled with the transition, and some people have had their lives turned completely upside down.

While everyone is trying to figure out their lives, the public transit system in British Columbia (BC) already had plans to help commuters. Each of the cities below and other regions in Canada offer low-income transit passes to commuters. If you qualify, you’ll pay a reduced rate for monthly public transit passes.

What you need to know about low-income transit passes in British Columbia 

British Columbia has developed two programs for low-income commuters. One program is aimed at students, and the other is for seniors and persons with disabilities. We’ll get into the details of both. 

British Columbia Bus Program 

The BC Bus Program allows seniors and persons with disabilities to commute across BC on public transit at a reduced rate. It’s available on any BC Transit or TransLink system. 

How much does the BC Bus Program cost? 

If you qualify for the pass, the cost would be $45 for a full year. This is the cost no matter what month of the year you apply. For BC Transit, all you need to do is show your driver your card. For TransLink, you’ll have to tap your card before entering the bus or train. If you’re commuting by Skytrain, tap when you’re exiting. 

To be eligible for the BC Bus Program, you have to meet at least one of these criteria: 

  • 60 years or older and the spouse of a person with a “Person with Disabilities” designation who is receiving disability assistance from the Province of British Columbia
  • 60 years or older and receiving income assistance from the Province of British Columbia
  • 60 years or older, living on a First Nations reserve, and getting assistance from the band office
  • 65 years or older and would qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) but does not meet the Canadian 10-year residency rule
  • Receiving Old Age Security (OAS) and the GIS
  • Receiving the federal spousal Allowance
  • Receiving the federal Allowance for the Survivor


How do you apply for the BC Bus Program? 

If you want to apply for, update, or request a new BC Bus Program pass because you’ve lost your pass, you have a few options: 

  • Call 1-866-866-0800 and press option 2, then press option 2 again, then press option 1 
  • Apply online by filling out the form and pressing submit
  • Download the application and mail it to: 

BC Bus Pass Program

PO Box 9985, STN PROV GOVT

Victoria, BC V8W 9R6

 

  • If you’re applying for someone else, you’ll need to get their written or verbal permission. Have the person applying fill out this form and fax, email or mail it in. Here is an example of a completed application. 


BC Transit Sticker 

For commuting on BC Transit, you’ll need a BC Transit sticker attached to your Compass Card validating the current year. You won’t need the sticker to commute on Translink. If you don’t have a sticker or you have any questions, you can contact the BC Bus Pass program at 1-866-866-0800 or email BCBusPassProgram@gov.bc.ca. Your transit sticker will be mailed to you at no cost. 


BC U-Pass for Students 

With a BC U-Pass (universal pass), students will have access to the bus, SeaBus, SkyTrain, and discounts on West Coast Express. The goal is to lower the cost of travel for students and have them incorporate public transportation into their lifestyle. 

Who can apply 

All public post-secondary students who are part of the following institutions can apply:  

  • University of British Columbia 
  • Simon Fraser University 
  • Capilano University 
  • Langara College 
  • Emily Carr University of Art & Design 
  • Vancouver Community College 
  • Douglas College 
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University 
  • British Columbia Institute of Technology 
  • Nicola Valley Institute of Technology  

Eligibility may have been modified due to COVID-19. It’s best to speak with someone in your institution to find out details.

 

How much does a U-Pass cost? 

You don’t pay for your U-Pass BC at any public transit location – it’s collected by your institution as part of your student fees. The current cost of a U-Pass is as follows: 

  • $41 from Jan 1, 2020, to Apr 30, 2020
  • $42.50 from May 1, 2020, to Apr 30, 2021
  • $43.35 from May 1, 2021, to Apr 30, 2022
  • $44.20 from May 1, 2022, to Apr 30, 2023
  • $45.10 from May 1, 2023, to Apr 30, 2024
  • $46 from May 1, 2024, to Apr 30, 2025


How do you use your U-Pass? 

All you need to do is load it onto your adult Compass Pass. You can also load the U-Pass to your Wristband or Mini. A U-Pass is only valid on Translink networks in Metro Vancouver.

Transit Tip: Get real-time transit alerts and arrival times with Rocketman. Learn more about the Rocketman app for Vancouver transit and Victoria transit.

Don’t let your income prevent you from commuting 

Everyone’s circumstances are different, but if you still need to commute daily (or regularly), don’t let your income prevent you from doing that. Take advantage of these programs to keep doing what you need to take care of yourself and your family. As long as you’re being safe and respecting social distancing and mask rules, you should be able to travel as much as you need to.

At Rocketman, we do our best to keep you ahead of your commute. Get real-time transit alerts, arrival times and try our new crowdedness feature to avoid busy times on your journey.

Download the Rocketman app:

At Rocketman, we do our best to keep you ahead of your commute. Get real-time transit alerts, arrival times and try our new crowdedness feature to avoid busy times on your journey.

Rocketman transit app for iOS

Rocketman transit app for Android

Learn more about using the Rocketman transit app in Vancouver.

Looking for more Vancouver day trip ideas? Check out our article on Transit Accessible Day Trips from Vancouver.

 

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.  

There’s really no other way to describe the pandemic than to say it really sucks. Even though the mantra is that we’re all in this together, the reality is that COVID-19 and the subsequent quarantine has impacted everyone differently. Some people have been able to make the switch to working from home without too much difficulty. Others have struggled with the transition, and some people have had their lives turned completely upside down.

While everyone is trying to figure out their lives, the public transit system in British Columbia (BC) already had plans to help commuters. Each of the cities below and other regions in Canada offer low-income transit passes to commuters. If you qualify, you’ll pay a reduced rate for monthly public transit passes.

What you need to know about low-income transit passes in British Columbia 

British Columbia has developed two programs for low-income commuters. One program is aimed at students, and the other is for seniors and persons with disabilities. We’ll get into the details of both. 

British Columbia Bus Program 

The BC Bus Program allows seniors and persons with disabilities to commute across BC on public transit at a reduced rate. It’s available on any BC Transit or TransLink system. 

How much does the BC Bus Program cost? 

If you qualify for the pass, the cost would be $45 for a full year. This is the cost no matter what month of the year you apply. For BC Transit, all you need to do is show your driver your card. For TransLink, you’ll have to tap your card before entering the bus or train. If you’re commuting by Skytrain, tap when you’re exiting. 

To be eligible for the BC Bus Program, you have to meet at least one of these criteria: 

  • 60 years or older and the spouse of a person with a “Person with Disabilities” designation who is receiving disability assistance from the Province of British Columbia
  • 60 years or older and receiving income assistance from the Province of British Columbia
  • 60 years or older, living on a First Nations reserve, and getting assistance from the band office
  • 65 years or older and would qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) but does not meet the Canadian 10-year residency rule
  • Receiving Old Age Security (OAS) and the GIS
  • Receiving the federal spousal Allowance
  • Receiving the federal Allowance for the Survivor


How do you apply for the BC Bus Program? 

If you want to apply for, update, or request a new BC Bus Program pass because you’ve lost your pass, you have a few options: 

  • Call 1-866-866-0800 and press option 2, then press option 2 again, then press option 1 
  • Apply online by filling out the form and pressing submit
  • Download the application and mail it to: 

BC Bus Pass Program

PO Box 9985, STN PROV GOVT

Victoria, BC V8W 9R6

 

  • If you’re applying for someone else, you’ll need to get their written or verbal permission. Have the person applying fill out this form and fax, email or mail it in. Here is an example of a completed application. 


BC Transit Sticker 

For commuting on BC Transit, you’ll need a BC Transit sticker attached to your Compass Card validating the current year. You won’t need the sticker to commute on Translink. If you don’t have a sticker or you have any questions, you can contact the BC Bus Pass program at 1-866-866-0800 or email BCBusPassProgram@gov.bc.ca. Your transit sticker will be mailed to you at no cost. 


BC U-Pass for Students 

With a BC U-Pass (universal pass), students will have access to the bus, SeaBus, SkyTrain, and discounts on West Coast Express. The goal is to lower the cost of travel for students and have them incorporate public transportation into their lifestyle. 

Who can apply 

All public post-secondary students who are part of the following institutions can apply:  

  • University of British Columbia 
  • Simon Fraser University 
  • Capilano University 
  • Langara College 
  • Emily Carr University of Art & Design 
  • Vancouver Community College 
  • Douglas College 
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University 
  • British Columbia Institute of Technology 
  • Nicola Valley Institute of Technology  

Eligibility may have been modified due to COVID-19. It’s best to speak with someone in your institution to find out details.

 

How much does a U-Pass cost? 

You don’t pay for your U-Pass BC at any public transit location – it’s collected by your institution as part of your student fees. The current cost of a U-Pass is as follows: 

  • $41 from Jan 1, 2020, to Apr 30, 2020
  • $42.50 from May 1, 2020, to Apr 30, 2021
  • $43.35 from May 1, 2021, to Apr 30, 2022
  • $44.20 from May 1, 2022, to Apr 30, 2023
  • $45.10 from May 1, 2023, to Apr 30, 2024
  • $46 from May 1, 2024, to Apr 30, 2025


How do you use your U-Pass? 

All you need to do is load it onto your adult Compass Pass. You can also load the U-Pass to your Wristband or Mini. A U-Pass is only valid on Translink networks in Metro Vancouver.

Transit Tip: Get real-time transit alerts and arrival times with Rocketman. Learn more about the Rocketman app for Vancouver transit and Victoria transit.

Don’t let your income prevent you from commuting 

Everyone’s circumstances are different, but if you still need to commute daily (or regularly), don’t let your income prevent you from doing that. Take advantage of these programs to keep doing what you need to take care of yourself and your family. As long as you’re being safe and respecting social distancing and mask rules, you should be able to travel as much as you need to.

At Rocketman, we do our best to keep you ahead of your commute. Get real-time transit alerts, arrival times and try our new crowdedness feature to avoid busy times on your journey.

Download the Rocketman app:

At Rocketman, we do our best to keep you ahead of your commute. Get real-time transit alerts, arrival times and try our new crowdedness feature to avoid busy times on your journey.

Rocketman transit app for iOS

Rocketman transit app for Android

Learn more about using the Rocketman transit app in Vancouver.

Looking for more Vancouver day trip ideas? Check out our article on Transit Accessible Day Trips from Vancouver.

 

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.  

Don’t have Rocketman? Stay on top of your commute by downloading it:

Download Rocketman on the App Store
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Not sure if Rocketman works in your area? View our list of supported regions.

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.

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