Overspending results in budget increase request for affordable transit program by Peel staff
Staff at the region of Peel has recommended that Regional Council consider increasing their budget of $600,000 as part of the 2020 Budget, making their revised budget a total of $1.6 million.
Effective August 31, 2019, the budget was overspent by at least $160,000.
According to a staff report, anticipated sales could potentially result in a year-end deficit of approximately $800,000; a result of the program's increased demand, transit pass sales and easier application process.
The Affordable Transit Pilot Program was initiated in 2014, in partnership with MiWay and was meant to understand the impact transit accessibility had on health, social inclusion and employment.
After the pilot was evaluated, it determined that users experienced enhanced access to employment and educational services, as well as increased social engagement and access to food.
In 2017, Regional Council approved that the pilot initiative be converted into a permanent Affordable Transit Program, with a $1 million annual budget for transit fare subsidies for residents of Brampton and Mississauga.
In February of 2018, the regional council approved the permanent program for transit fare subsidies with a $1 million annual budget in Mississauga. The program later launched in Brampton in May of the same year.
Going forward, there are various options that may help manage the program. This includes changing criteria of eligibility, reducing the subsidy amount or increasing the budget and cap intake of applications.
The Affordable Transit Program is essential to support low-income families and it has showcased its need for it and its effectiveness within the region of Peel.
This program will further be assessed by Peel staff and adjustments will be made accordingly.