Beginning January 1st, annual bus passes will be available to people on disability assistance through a new transportation supplement.

BC’s Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson says people who have the “Persons with Disabilities” designation can use the supplement for an annual pass or for other transportation needs, such as the HandyDART.

He says the January date was chosen as a starting point for a number of reasons. “We made the decision to start January 1st because for many people and I’ve heard from people who do want the annualized bus pass so that allows us to do that for the calendar year.”

He adds that, “when the changes were made back in 2016, there was a computer system in place to allow this to happen and essentially that computer system was dismantled.” In 2016, the Liberal government raised assistance for people with disabilities by $77 per month, but started charging $52 a month for a monthly bus pass.

The new transportation supplement of $52 per month will be on monthly assistance payments that come out December 20th. The transportation allowance will not affect the existing $1,133 monthly payment people with disabilities currently get.

It is expected to cost the government about $70-million per year.