(BC Transit)

It’s a program helping refugees make a home in Greater Victoria, offering barrier-free access to transit as they get settled into the community.

Together with the Victoria Regional Transit Commission, BC Transit is extending its Refugee Pass Program until December 31st, 2022.

The program was launched in 2015 through a collaboration with the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA), providing refugees with temporary free transit for one year.

BC Transit CEO Erinn Pinkerton says she’s proud of the program, as another CEO points out that it’s something needed now more than ever.

“As the cost of living in the Capital Regional District climbs, the bus pass program for refugees becomes even more important,” said Jean McRae with the ICA.

“From their first days of arrival, we can help them build the independence to navigate their new community, get their children to school, and for parents to get to English classes and their first Canadian jobs.”

Each month, a pre-determined quantity of monthly passes are delivered to the ICA, according to BC Transit. The association then distributes these transit passes, having handed out over 12,900 since 2016.

Through the years, Transit Commission chair Susan Brice finds that the program has been a “proven success,” and recipients Sam and Hanadi can attest to that.

“I just want to thank you very much for Refugee Bus Pass Program that helped me and my wife navigate for a whole year,” Sam said. “It was very helpful, and we are very grateful for that.”

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