K-12 student pass depends on Translink funding

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      TransLink is open to providing Metro Vancouver’s K-12 students with affordable group passes to use during educational trips, according to spokesperson Ken Hardie.

      However, Hardie pointed out that the proposed TripEd pass isn’t going anywhere if the transportation authority doesn’t get money for its expansion plans.

      “You never say never, but, you know, the fact is we would be left in a situation that we would have to cut about 40 percent of bus service,” Hardie told the Straight, referring to a scenario in which TransLink doesn’t receive any funding increases during the next decade, starting in 2010.

      The TripEd pass would be an annual $10 ticket that classes could use throughout the year for educational trips.

      For TripEd advocate Schula Leonard, a Burnaby librarian, the pass should be a no-brainer for TransLink.

      “The kids today that they should be courting would be their tax base, and they will be their ridership,” Leonard told the Straight. “Kids are going to remember: ”˜That’s how we got to go all over; that’s how we connected with everything.’ ”

      Groups such as the David Suzuki Foundation, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, a number of school and library boards, and Vancouver city council have supported the proposal.

      TransLink’s council of mayors has endorsed a 10-year program for TransLink that includes additional revenues amounting to $450 million per year, although mayors do not support further increases in property taxes, a major source of transit funding.

      According to Hardie, the TransLink board will approve detailed plans related to the long-range program this July, including funding options; these will require approval by the mayors’ council in October.