There are already ads offering to sell Victoria's free youth transit passes

Nov 8 2019, 1:33 pm

Well, that didn’t take long.

Within just a matter of days since the City of Victoria launched its program of offering free bus passes to the municipality’s youth between the ages of 12 and 18, people are already trying to sell their passes online.

A number of the ads on Craigslist have been taken down since Daily Hive Urbanized first spotted them early this morning, but a few remain listed at the time of writing.

One listing offers three free youth monthly passes from December to June for $25 per month. “We don’t need our free passes until the summer but we’d like to pass them on to someone that [does]. Help our family and we can help yours,” reads the listing.

Another ad offers up to three free youth monthly passes for $20 each.

There is even a brazen ad that offers to “pay the top cash for your unwanted BC Transit monthly youth passes” for “$10 and sometimes up, all cash.”

victoria free youth bus pass craigslist ad

Craigslist screenshot

The municipal government’s initial program, benefiting 7,200 youth residing in the city, officially begins next month and lasts until August 2020.

As a temporary measure, until a more permanent system using student ID cards is in place in September 2020, youth are required to visit City Hall every month to retrieve their free monthly transit pass. This monthly pickup process, which began earlier this week, requires a proof of address.

Regardless of whether or not the youth use the pass, each pass will cost the municipal government $11.25 per month or $135 per year, totalling a bulk purchase of $972,000 annually, with much of this coming from the city’s parking revenues.

Free transit passes for youth have also seen abuse on the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) in recent years.

A report by the City of Toronto’s auditor general in February 2019 found rampant fraudulent use of the free unlimited travel option of the PRESTO concession cards for children 12 and under. This was deemed as one of the leading contributors of the estimated $61 million in lost TTC revenue in 2018.

In fact, the report stated auditors “did not come across ANY children aged 12 and under who were using Child PRESTO cards” over the entire month-and-a-half audit period, when fare inspectors caught 56 subway riders and 22 bus riders.