EDMONTON - On June 15, Free Transit Edmonton launched Fare Free Forever, a media campaign highlighting the importance of fare-free transit and the stories of Edmontonians who rely on our public transit system. The campaign responds to Edmonton Transit Service’s reinstatement of fare collection on June 15, 2020, after suspending it due to COVID-19. The campaign launch includes a petition calling for the immediate reinstatement of zero-fare transit, and a video outlining the group’s platform for a fare-free future.
Carter Gorzitza, an organizer with Free Transit Edmonton, stressed the core values of the campaign and why keeping the transit system fare free makes sense.
“The pandemic is far from over, and already we can see that low-wage earners are being hit hardest by layoffs and financial vulnerability,” explained Gorzitza. ”We need to address the economic fallout with data-driven municipal policies and a just recovery plan, including the removal of user fares from public transit.”
“Furthermore, we stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in both the United States and Canada, and the calls to redistribute bloated police budgets toward the public good,” said Gorzitza. “This too is a transit justice issue, as we know that Black and Indigenous people here in Edmonton are disproportionately ticketed for fare evasion, which often snowballs into arrest warrants.”
“This is even more evident when we look at the overrepresentation of Indigenous, Black, and racialized people in prisons and jails across the western provinces,” said Paige Gorsak, another campaign organizer. “The removal of fares is one small step towards rectifying a deep-seated structural injustice that tears communities apart.”
“Making transit free makes sense,” added Gorsak. “And we’re going to make it happen.”