EDMONTON - At their April 21 meeting, Edmonton City Council voted 12-to-1 to scrap plans to increase public transit cash fares on May 1 after grassroots campaign Free Transit Edmonton delivered more than 1800 petition signatures demanding a fare freeze.
“The fare freeze was a necessary first step in addressing inequality in our city,” said Paige Gorsak, an organizer with Free Transit Edmonton. “We are glad to see Council did the right thing in listening to the demands from the Edmonton community. There is still much more work to be done to create a truly equitable city, but this win against an unjust fee hike shows that when communities organize, we win.”
The grassroots volunteer-run campaign sought support from groups across the city to demand a fare freeze.
“Organizations like Edmonton & District Labour Council, EndPovertyEdmonton, Shades of Colour, GAPSS, and the Self-Advocacy Federation know that public transit fare hikes hit vulnerable people the hardest—including low wage workers, front-line service workers, and our houseless community members,” said Danika McConnell, another Free Transit Edmonton organizer.
“These issues have been further entrenched by the economic and social hardship of the pandemic. We are proud to have played a part in organizing our community to show that a better city, one that considers its citizens before corporations and developers, is totally possible when we stand up together,” added McConnell.
“There’s a long way to go to our ultimate goal of fare-free and expanded public transit,” said Paige Gorsak. “Along with our allies like Act For Edmonton, we look forward to putting pressure on candidates for the municipal election. We intend to agitate and organize until Edmonton has a transit system that is fully public like our schools, libraries, and hospitals—open and accepting of all, regardless of the ability to pay.”
For more information about Free Transit Edmonton and to get involved, visit FreeTransitEdmonton.ca.