Public transportation is a critical service for citizens to get to and from work, to shop for basic needs, to attend health needs, and participate in community life. Those living in poverty rely heavily on public transportation and when cost is a critical factor, many people in poverty end up not being able to afford public transportation and thus end up being excluded even further from society.
Academic research has shown the importance of transportation in addressing poverty in a community. Nathaniel Hendren, a Harvard economist, notes, ‘The relationship between transportation and social mobility is stronger than that between mobility and several other factors, like crime, elementary-school test scores or the percentage of two-parent families in a community.’ In order for people to access the systems and supports that would help lift people out of poverty- jobs, quality food, education, healthcare- they need the ability to get there in an accessible and affordable way. EnPovertyEdmonton’s priorities on transportation calls for affordability for those in poverty but also for an expanded network that ensures that everyone can access all the city’s resources they need for a high quality of life.
While it will take time to implement all of our actions around accessible and affordable transit, great progress is currently under way. Edmonton Transit has recently committed to providing 100 passes for the months of October 2015- March 2016 to disadvantaged youth through various agencies as a pilot project.
EndPovertyEdmonton priorities that directly relate to ‘Accessible and Affordable Transit’
11. Make transit reliable, accessible and affordable for Edmontonians.
12. Improve and expand transit services.