Centre For Family Equity

Transit for Teens Delegation Meets the Premier!

December 22, 2023

(Vancouver, BC: Unceded Coast Salish Territories) A delegation of youths and mothers delivered impactful presentations to Premier Eby in support of the Transit for Teens solution on Monday, December 18th, 2023 in downtown Vancouver.

CFE lone mother member and Indigenous community member Danielle spoke about the reality of raising four children on a low income in Vancouver,. She shared about having to ration bus tickets, and often worrying about the safety of her Indigenous daughters when they can't access the transit they need. Danielle's daughter Natalie, a Grade 10 student, shared with the Premier about the debilitating mental health impacts of not being able to access the transit she needs to get to school, missing out on social activities, and fearing the transit police. Natalie said to Premier Eby, "not having enough money doesn't mean you shouldn't be able to get to school."

Dani and Ashley, both associated with TRRUST Collective Impact which supports former youth-in-care, spoke about living on low incomes as at-risk youth and having to make tough choices. Ashley, the oldest child in a family of five, shared how she learned to fare evade to survive at an early age and spoke about the stigma and hardship of having to choose between breakfast and transit fare to get to school every day. Dani shared about the stress of having to also choose between food and transit fare; her priority was to make it to high school every day to graduate. 

Medina spoke about the pressures of being raised in an immigrant family that struggled to get by. She shared her reality as a 'youth commuter' spending over 90 minutes a day on transit and emphasized the important life skills and confidence transit use can build in youth who can access it without barriers.

Indigenous mother Leona shared about how the impact of her daughter's participation in the City of Vancouver's reduced transit fare pilot project, which provided participants with free and unlimited transit in Vancouver for six months. She spoke about how her daughter was able to access all the counselling support she needed from the Urban Native Youth Association (UNYA) without the cost barrier of transit. Leona shared that her daughter flourished when she was able to get everywhere she needed to go without the cost barrier.

Elli and Harper, both Grade 11 students, addressed the climate justice angle with passion. Ellie shared that when confronting the reality of climate change made her feel depressed, she decided to overcome her anxiety by taking action on the Transit for Teens initiative. Since then, Ellie and Harper have secured over 600 petition signatures for Transit for Teens. Ellie told the premier that we have a 'choice to make' around addressing climate change and Transit for Teens is a step towards a sustainable transportation future. Harper shared about being uplifted while working on the campaign in the face of climate change and shared about the inspiring and bold steps the State of Washington and other locations have taken to implement free transit for youth as a climate change mitigation strategy.

CFE staff discussed how Transit for Teens ties to CLEAN BC, BC's active transportation mandate, and the TogetherBC poverty reduction mandate all at once. Staff shared about the proven success of an approach that imbeds transit training and promotion of green transport choices in BC's k-12 public school system with a focus on high school. 

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Office of the Premier staff for their support and for the opportunity to meet and present to Premier Eby. We would like to express our gratitude to Premier Eby for his sincere listening and attentiveness to each speaker as they shared their personal experiences to impact change for the province. A special thank you to all speakers for their time and passion to impact the meeting and Transit for Teens. Appreciation also to TRRUST Collective Impact and the Urban Native Youth Association for their assistance with outreach and presenters for the event.

In case you missed it, please sign our petition to let the provincial government know you support Transit for Teens here.

Stay tuned for further updates on the Transit for Teens initiative. Research news arriving in January!