Council voted unanimously to support BC Transit’s request to offer free rides on the May 9 election day. Courtesy of B.C. Transit

Free transit on election day

B.C. Transit wants to make it free to get to Penticton polling stations on election day

Getting to the polls on May 9 is going to be free for bus riders.

B.C. Transit recently sent an enquiry to city council to find out if they were interested in providing free transit on the upcoming provincial election day, so people would have an alternative way to get to a polling station.

Penticton city council had some concerns, but in the end, gave the nod to the proposal.

Mitch Moroziuk, director of operations, said the free transit would only affect riders who pay in cash.

“Typically, in a day at that time of the year, we bring in about $700 a day in terms of cash fares on the bus,” said Moroziuk.

Mayor Andrew Jakubeit was concerned people would take advantage of the free service, but not use it to go vote.

“I was just wondering if there would be any way of differentiating what would be a normal transit user who had no intention of voting, or already had voted,” said Jakubeit. “I guess it is all or nothing.”

Coun. Andre Martin questioned whether people would consider it unfair the free service was only on polling day and not for advance polling, while Coun. Campbell Watt was unequivocal in his support.

“I think the opportunity for people to be able to go to the election for free is something we should provide,” said Watt.

Despite councillor concerns, they passed the motion unanimously, with the exception of Coun. Tarik Sayeed, who recused himself.

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