University and college students over 27 years old can buy discounted student buses passes again.
Admitting they were mistaken to set an age cap on student transit passes, city council unanimously overturned the decision Wednesday.
Rideau-Rockcliffe Coun. Jacques Legendre likened the age cap to a $240 property tax raise, saying such a thing would create turmoil around the council table. The age cap was essentially the same thing but targeted at a vulnerable population that is struggling to make ends meet.
“It’s just dumb, dumb, dumb,” Legendre said.
Two dozen students rallied in front of city hall prior to the meeting where they presented a petition of over 2,400 signatures to councillors Alex Cullen and Rainer Bloess. After the vote, the students gave councillors a standing ovation.
“We’re excited. Who says you can’t fight city hall?” said Carleton University Student Association president Erik Halliwell. “A lot of students are really feeling the pinch because of the recession and $20 a month will mean a lot to them.”
Halliwell said Carleton plans to hold a referendum on a universal student pass in February.
Sheena Taylor, a 25-year-old Carleton student in her second year of social work brought her four-year-old daughter Matiya to the rally.
She said it’s often mature students who are worse off financially because they have kids to look after and other responsibilities.
Bay Ward Coun. Alex Cullen urged students to be proactive during future budget debates in hopes that they could avoid similar fights in the future.
The age cap was expected to bring in around $110,000 per semester. That lost revenue will be covered out of Transit Services’ general accounts money.
Students over the age of 27 who have purchased adult photo ID and an adult pass can get their student ID and a refund of the fare difference by bringing proof of full-time status to an OC Transpo ticket office.