The difference between before tax and after-tax income will add up to $348 each this year for about 400 transit riders who received discounted bus passes by mistake.
The city started offering the passes in December as part of a new pilot project. Eligibility was supposed to be Statistics Canada’s after-tax low-income cut-off (LICO) — but up until the mistake was caught in late January, eligibility was based on gross income cutoffs.
“I certainly would rather make that mistake than the reverse which is not approving people who should’ve been eligible,” Coun. Jesse Helmer told 980 CFPL.
“Perhaps we should keep it at LICO before tax rather than LICO after tax and I think that’s a discussion we need to have at council.”
The pilot project offers subsidized passes for $52 a month for those who are eligible, with approval lasting through the entire year. Those who were already mistakenly approved for the subsidized passes will also be eligible throughout the year.
“The eligibility is for one full year so you don’t have to keep coming in every month and keep showing us that your income is meeting the threshold,” Helmer added.
“That’s obviously a lot easier to manage from an administrative point of view and I think it’s fairer to people; it’s a bit more dignified than having them come in every month.”
According to Helmer, about 600 people bought passes for January and roughly 900 for February as the word spread about the program.
Full price bus passes go for $81 a month.
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