RTC: towards a 33% discount for low-income people

RTC: towards a 33% discount for low-income people< /p> UPDATE DAY

From the first quarter of 2023, low-income people should benefit from a 33% discount to take the buses of the Réseau de transport de la Capitale (RTC). The “social tariff” will cost the City of Quebec $1 million a year.

Promised during the election campaign by Québec forte et fier (QFF), this form of pricing was announced Tuesday morning by Maude Mercier Larouche, president of the RTC, at a press briefing.  

The decrease in 33% compared to the regular rate is the same currently enjoyed by students and seniors ($61.30 instead of $91.95 for a monthly pass).  

It is not excluded that social pricing may apply to other tickets, such as individual tickets. The 33% discount is a first step and it is expected to “evolve over time,” said Ms. Mercier Larouche.  

Maude Mercier Larouche, President of the Réseau de transport de la Capitale (RTC) , announced the introduction of social pricing from the first quarter of 2023.

The City estimates that 2,500 public transit users could benefit from this measure. In Quebec, some 21,000 people live below the low-income threshold measured by the grocery basket. For a person living alone, this threshold corresponds to an annual income of approximately $22,000.  

No bureaucracy

In the process , the Municipality also announced the creation of two committees (the first internal to the City and the second external made up of various organizations from the associative sector) “in order to clearly define the scales that the pricing will take and its implementation”.&nbsp ;

These committees will have to consider, in particular, the concrete way of defining the clientele targeted by the measure. “We don't want bureaucratic heaviness that would undermine beneficiaries in their procedures,” said Maude Mercier Larouche. It is one of our priorities to combat social inequalities.” 

David Lesage, economist at the City of Quebec, added this: “We want it to be as simple as possible.”   

Quebec 21 reacted Tuesday afternoon, by means of a press release, by qualifying the announcement “of noble intention which lacks ambition”. The leader of the party, Éric Ralph Mercier, notably recalled that QFF had undertaken to reduce the cost for low-income people by 30% to 50% and to devote $2 million to social pricing from the second year of office. .  

Present at the Hôtel de Ville de Québec, several representatives of community organizations said that Tuesday's announcement is “a step in the right direction”. They did, however, indicate their preference for a 50% discount rather than 33%. They also stressed the importance of not “stigmatising” low-income people when buying discounted passes.  

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They said

  • “We are very satisfied. It's a step in the right direction, but we would have preferred a minimum discount of 50% so that it would be accessible to the people we reach”, Émilie Frémont-Cloutier, animator of the Collective for affordable and accessible transport in Quebec ( TRAAQ). 
  • “We are very enthusiastic about this new announcement. We have been asking for social pricing based on income for years. We think this is a first step in the right direction”, Marie-Soleil Gagné, assistant director at Accès transports viables (ATV).   
  • “I am very happy with the news. This is a first step to allow people with low incomes to benefit from a better rate to access the transportation service. However, there is now a break in paratransit service. We will also have to be able to guarantee access to transportation,” Véronique Vézina, director of the Regroupement des organizations de personnes handicapées de la region de la Capitale-Nationale