23 Responses to Let Them Ride. FREE!

  1. Scot Ferguson-Barber May 23, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Sorry Allen, you missed the bus on this one. I think Nicholas has a good idea. Our seniors have paid their fair share of taxes for decades (more than their fair share when conservatives were in power)y5
    and they deserve a break. Many seniors I know have to watch every penny, and a bus pass would provide them with some mobility and freedom they couldn’t otherwise afford.

  2. Gary Moorhead May 23, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Sounds like one of Andrew Johnsons Campaign promises. You mention seniors who are filthy rich, well most of them would still have a car or someone to drive them around and if they are rich chances are they would not be in Canada during the time they would need the buses the most, they would be in Florida or Arizona during the winter months and would not be in need of it. If something like this was to happen I would assume their would be a means test to determine a cut off point for eligibility.
    you know we scream if our elected officials don’t do anything and then when they try to put ideas out there that may just improve the city or life for residents of the city there are many who scream at them for that as well. I guess it is the damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

  3. Les Salliberry May 23, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Public Transit is what it say’s it is PUBLIC. Those can afford it should look out for those who can not. I don’t ride the bus but have no problem with allowing low income seniors having a free ride on my behalf. It is called compassion and too many of us no longer have it. Everybody seems to be worried about themselves with the Guardian of the public purse crap. Let’s look after those that need it, i’m not religious but I think if there is a god he would say the same.

  4. Facetious Lee May 23, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Les, I’m going to assume, perhaps wrongly, that your compassion might extend to more than just seniors?
    Gary, you mentioned a “means test” to determine eligibility. What would be the salaries of the board members who assemble themselves to discuss whether a person is eligible? Expense accounts?
    More non-producing persons and higher taxation.
    I can’t wait till the whole country goes broke.

  5. Gary Moorhead May 23, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    There is always Costa Rica!

  6. wes kies May 24, 2011 at 9:26 am

    there is a programme in place for Seniors that they can call a cab for 2 bucks, Nic needs to get on Board and find this info out from the Seniors Centre
    and while your at it Nic find out all the other wonderful programmes that are free to our Seniors…

  7. Hags May 24, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I know Nick..smart guy, big heart, tireless worker. I may be on the side of Mordor rather than Gondor on this one however.
    I’ve read more than once that the majority of seniors are sitting on the biggest chunk of money in the country. Do seniors already get a break to ride the buses?…if not a $2 cab ride is sure as hell reasonable.
    Anyway, poor seniors would appreciate the extra help but the fact remains..most seniors don’t need any help at all.

  8. Scot Ferguson-Barber May 24, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Wes, you said “there is a programme in place for Seniors that they can call a cab for 2 bucks, Nic needs to get on Board and find this info out from the Seniors Centre.”
    I couldn’t find anything online, so I went down to The David Durward Centre and showed the ladies your post. They weren’t sure what you were talking about, so I went to the cab station. The cabbies told me that there was something in place, but they weren’t sure of criteria. Next I called the taxi office, and found out yes, there is a program in place.
    It’s done through Mobility Plus, and funded through…are you ready? The Region.
    (So if nick’s proposal went through the Region wouldn’t spend as much on subsidized cabs.)
    Furthermore, if a senior is able to negotiate the maze I just described, they still have to meet eligibility rquirements.
    Fron the Region of Waterloo Website

    “In Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge, you may be eligible for MobilityPLUS if you meet one of the following requirements:

    Physically unable to climb or descend steps on conventional public transportation
    Unable to walk a distance of 175 metres (575 feet)
    Suffer from a temporary disability, such as a broken leg
    Registered with CNIB”

    Nick, keep it up. They are quite happy with you at the Durward Centre.

  9. Lary Turner May 25, 2011 at 8:26 am

    I agree its a good idea because there are many seniors that can no longer drive a car due to declining health issues, but still need to get around. As for a means test; any senior that qualifies for the Pension Income Supplement…. no need to setup a new board to decide eligibility, just show GRT your Pension statement to get your free transit pass.

  10. Beverly Bonsignore May 25, 2011 at 8:41 am

    No argument here about giving seniors free rides on the transit. Lary’s idea for a means test would work fine in my opinion.

  11. Margaret Barr May 25, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    I’m with Lary and Beverly on this one.

    As for the $2 taxi fair for seniors (unable to board the bus) that initiative has been in place for at least 7-8 years that I personally know of; because my mother-in-law used this service several times while living in my home.

    Being “Physically unable to climb or descend steps on conventional public transportation” takes a broad view; and isn’t as ‘restrictive’ as it sounds.

    My mom-in-law had a ‘vertigo-type’ of ailment; where she would get ‘dizzy’ with no notice…this was enough to qualify her for the taxi program.

  12. les May 25, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Most countries in Europe offer senoirs free train and bus rides anywhere.
    The countries recoup the costs in taxes being spent in buying goods etc. It also allows folks to be mobile versus rotting in their homes.
    It would work and allow people gradually to get accumstomed to transit.
    All that has to be done now, is offer one that works.
    Currently it does not.

  13. Scot Ferguson-Barber May 26, 2011 at 1:58 am

    Nicholas Ermeta to me
    show details 11:17 PM (2 hours ago)

    Hi Scot,

    We will be discussing the free public transit for seniors motion this Monday at 7pm. If you know anyone who would like to speak to that item they need to contact Susan Wysman ASAP. I think the deadline is Friday. Anyway if they contact her on Monday I think they’re still ok and will be allowed to speak. Each speaker is to state their name and address. Five minutes is allowed per person. If they are representing two people or more they have 10 minutes. Susan Wysman can be reached at 519-740-4685 Extension 4233. Her email is [email protected].

    Take care,

  14. Malcolm May 26, 2011 at 7:17 am

    As MacSquinty has removed or is about to remove the breaks given to volunteer drivers i.e. visits to the hospital, maybe Seniors deserve a break on bus fares. But free no way unless like some in Europe we go socialist here. Goodbye Harper, Liberals well they are done for now, hello moustache Jack. Everyone wants something for nothing/free, until it is tax time, then whine/bitch.

  15. Scot Ferguson-Barber May 26, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Malcolm, it’s not up to “Macsquinty, Harper or Jack,”
    This one is up to Doug, Ben, Pam and the crew.

  16. Lary Turner May 26, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Sorry Scot, but I think you missed the bus on this one…. GRT is a regional service and I do believe that makes it the responsibility of Regional Council. Doug,Ben,Pam and the crew can make a request or ask Cambridge Reps Jane & Claudette to raise the issue; but Regional Council will have to make the final decision.

  17. Scot Ferguson-Barber May 26, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Lary, there is a motion going before City Council on Monday. I haven’t seen the motion yet, but I’ll post it here when it’s available.

  18. Facetious Lee May 26, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Scot missed the bus, Scot missed the bus, Scot missed the bus, na nana na na!

  19. Scot Ferguson-Barber May 26, 2011 at 11:56 am

    I just recieved this from Nicholas.
    Hey Scot,

    Here is a copy of the motion:

    THAT Cambridge City Council request the council of the Region of Waterloo to direct Waterloo Regional Staff to report back to Waterloo Regional Council on the pros and cons of allowing free public transit ridership for seniors

    AND THAT Cambridge City Council request the council of the Region of Waterloo consider approving free public transit for seniors once they have all of the necessary information before them

    AND THAT if full free public transit for seniors ends up being too costly for implementation then Cambridge City Council request the council of the Region of Waterloo consider approving a scaled down version such as free public transit for seniors during off peak times and / or on certain days of the week

  20. les kadar May 26, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Scot/Nic, you can motion all you want.
    The city of Cambridge gave away their rights to the bus system years ago to the region.
    We are now seeing the results. Always one step closer to one tier government.
    As you can see in the motion, Cambridge is asking the Region,, blah blah blah,,,,It’s all politics from here on in. Never happen folks.
    And Malcolm, instead of being such a die hard blue blood, have a peak at results for a change rather than the simplicity of NO NO NO to anything socially beneficial.
    As Goodyear and gang have done with the theatre proposal, they are claiming future incomes thru HST returns as their reason for spending our money.
    What they forget is that it puts this community, show is to spend more than twice what the Feds or Prov are scheduled to spend, into serious long term debt without any possiblity of ROI, but hey, who cares about the community. He’s a minister with a huge pension coming.
    Letting seniors ride free, would afford them mobility if they have none, encourage them to get out of the house and the end result is they spend money locally. While once again the HST portion goes out of town, local business can now pay their taxes, their people and hopefully keep some for themselves too.

  21. Lary Turner May 26, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Apparently, there is a huge hole that politicians are not talking about. The Federal Infrastructure Program required matching $ from the provinces and the municipalities. Many cities went out and borrowed those $ in order to access the funds. It has been estimated that this has left Canadian cities with a debt of $100 Billion.

  22. Scot Ferguson-Barber May 26, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Les, I don’t realistically expect the motion to succeed, but it is certainly worth discussion. If free bus passes aren’t feasible, maybe something else is. If we dismiss it out of hand as impossible, nothing will happen. By people offering solutions we may be able to come up with something.

  23. les May 28, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Lary, 100 percent correct.
    I subscribed to a research group out of Toronto that only works with municipal isses. Their findings are what we all know. Municipalities are overspending at record rates and are mostly close to if not at bankruptcy. It has already happened in Ontario.
    An unkown fact is that if you live in a region such as ours and a city within that region goes bust, it automatically reverts to being run by the regional government. In other words, one tier government.
    This little diddy however goes un-noticed downtown as they blast away our taxes and are then forced to hike them to pay for their excess.

    Scot, that is why enjoy these blogs. Discussion.
    Sometimes folks get a little upitty but that’s fine.
    We should always be engaging others in how our taxes and future are being directed by those that have been elected. Problem Scot is that many cases exist where staff no longer listen. The LRT has been going for what a decade, 140 plus public meetings I understand? and what, we are still at the same place we started virtually? We still would get a bus while others get a rail? There is input from real smart people and groups that is being tossed to the curb.
    Staff in my view should not be the ones to work on such things but an independant body with no conficts or turf to protect. The million dollars it may cost GRT to subsidize the senoirs ? Let’s see that on paper. What is the payback in income from taxes, sales, etc. As the sales tax income would go to HST ( Fed/Prov) if we subsidize the senoirs who generate it, can we get some of that money back into the local economy from whence it came ?
    Talk talk and more talk. As you say, to dismiss it out of hand is simple.

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