Niagara Falls Transit free for seniors later this year
Residents 60 and over will be able to ride Niagara Falls Transit for free for three months starting later this year.
The pilot program, which will begin Sept. 1, will give seniors an opportunity to get out and explore their community, said Coun. Wayne Campbell, who also sits on the city’s seniors advisory committee.
Currently, transit fares are $2.75 for residents 65 and older. A 30-day day pass is $65.
The idea of free transit for seniors came to Campbell in a rather unconventional way.
Following a vacation in Costa Rica, he came away with not only an appreciation of the Central American country, but also an appreciation for how the nation treats its older citizens. A former president had implemented several programs aimed at enhancing the quality of life for seniors, including free bus transportation.
“The president realized seniors were simply staying at home and watching TV, they weren’t getting involved in the community,” Campbell said.
The councillor shared his experience with the commission, which serves in an advisory capacity to council and staff on matters that impact seniors, and members supported the idea and made a recommendation to council.
The goal of the pilot program is to better understand the city’s older adult rider patterns and habits.
Niagara Falls will be the first city in the region to offer free rides to seniors.
“Now that we are in the process of making transportation services a regionwide service, we want to get our foot in the door and encourage other senior citizen groups that exist in all other communities to make that same request to their councils,” Campbell said.
Free bus transportation, he added, is a step in the right direction in having the city recognized as an age-friendly community.
Also, council has approved a regionwide fare structure and strategy for inter-municipal transit. The new structure will go into effect in 2021.
by Alison Langley
Reporter at the Niagara Falls Review