The District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board is bringing a proposal to the table during Monday evening’s meeting – $450,000 in exchange for an 11 month pilot project beginning Feb. 1 until Dec. 31, 2019, that will provide Public Transit service for all individuals in receipt of Social Assistance for a flat fee.
Under the current model, Social Services determines on case-by-case basis who qualifies for a Transit pass, and funds are provided directly to these people to buy these passes with. Although this is partially controlled, there’s no way to track if the funds allocated are being used as intended. This model also leaves over 1,800 people living in poverty who can’t afford a monthly bus pass, which in turn, negatively impacts employment and health outcomes.
DSSAB’s proposal is to provide the City with this funding in hopes that the City will in turn, provide passes to Social Services to administer. This will allow Social Services to track how many passes are being issued and advise City Staff on a quarterly basis for reconciling purposes.
DSSAB anticipates the following benefits for this pilot:
- Reduced administration for both Social Services and Transit
- Revenue paid directly to the Transit Department (Kingston piloted a similar model in Jan. 2017 with good success and continues today)
- Ensures all community members who receive Ontario Works have access to Public Transportation
- Increase in ridership
- Collaborative partnership benefiting both organizations in alignment with both the City’s and Social Service’s Strategic Plans
- Controlled transportation budget line for Social Services
- Increased access to employment opportunities for people living in poverty
The DSSAB Board of Directors passed resolution on Jan. 17, 2019, supporting the pilot and authorizing the one-time transfer of $450,000 to the City.
City staff is in full support of the pilot and recommend the proposal.