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A City of Edmonton program that provides free monthly transit passes to individuals who are homeless or are at high risk of homelessness.

Sponsored and convened by the City of Edmonton and provided through various social agencies, Providing Accessible Transit Here (PATH) gives vulnerable Edmontonians a monthly transit pass. This helps them to attend school and seek work and housing, as well as medical and other social services.

In 2016, PATH evolved out of the Youth Transit Access Project. The City of Edmonton, MAPS Alberta, the High Risk Youth Initiative with the Government of Alberta and five youth-serving agencies (Boyle Street Education Centre, iHuman Youth Services, Native Counselling Services of Alberta, Old Strathcona Youth Society and Youth Empowerment Support Services) worked together to distribute 100 monthly youth transit passes. The project was successful and it expanded in November 2016 to include vulnerable youth and adults.

Who the Program Is For

Edmontonians who are homeless or at a high risk of homelessness may be eligible for a free monthly transit pass through the PATH program. The free pass is intended specifically for people who are highly vulnerable and not eligible for a pass through Human Services or another program — e.g school or a social worker.

How the Program Works

The program is relationship-based. Agencies regularly collaborate with the City and partnering organizations. Staff working at the distribution agencies work closely with individuals to determine eligibility for a monthly pass.

Currently, 10 social service agencies in Edmonton distribute passes. These agencies offer programs for individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Bissell Centre
10527 96 Street

Boyle Street Community Services
10116 105 Avenue NW

Boyle Street Education Centre
10312 105 Street

iHuman Youth Society
9635 102A Avenue  

Jasper Place Wellness Centre
15210 Stony Plain Road 

The Mosaic Centre
12758 Fort Road

Native Counselling Services of Alberta
10975 124 Street

The Neighbour Centre
7221 104 Street NW

Old Strathcona Youth Society
10325 83 Avenue

Youth Empowerment Support Services
9310 82 Avenue

If a pass is stolen or lost, someone may have turned it in at the ETS Lost and Found located at the Edmonton Service Centre at 10111-104 Avenue or call 780-496-1622.

PATH is different from the DONATE A RIDE program, which offers transit tickets to adults and youth who are in crisis situations, on a short-term basis. These tickets allow individuals to access public transportation for job interviews, medical appointments and other services.


Why is the Program Needed?

The City of Edmonton is committed to breaking the unintentional consequences of poverty. PATH aligns with the priority under End Poverty Edmonton that states in order to move people out of poverty, making transit reliable, accessible and affordable for Edmontonians is critical. Citizens can get to and from work, shop for basic needs, attend to health needs and participate in community life.

How Many People Have Received Passes Through PATH to Date?

In early January, designated local social agencies began distributing up to 600 transit passes to eligible adults and youth who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

What is Social Return On Investment?

Social Return on Investment (SROI) is a methodology that accounts for the social value created by the program, calculating the value of the social returns for every dollar invested in the program.

The SROI was calculated for the Youth Transit Access Project as follows: for every $1 invested in this project, $1.92 was created in social investment. This means that the program “paid for itself” in 3.1 months through avoided enforcement programs and associated court and administrative costs.

How is it Decided Which Agencies Get to Hand Out Passes?

The original five agencies were youth-serving agencies that wanted to address the impact of fare evasion tickets for youth in high-risk situations. When the program expanded to adults, the City of Edmonton invited agencies which offered drop-in day shelter services to adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in different geographical locations. 

How Does PATH Program Differ or Relate to the Low Income Transit Pass?

PATH falls under the Low Income Transit Pass, now called the Ride Transit Program. While they both aim to increase access to transit, PATH specifically targets vulnerable individuals who are homeless or who are at high risk of becoming homeless. The Low Income Transit Pass focuses on individuals who fall below the nationwide Low Income Cut Off (LICO)  threshold. The Ride Transit Program will remain at $35 and be exempt from fare increases until at least 2019.

We will be introducing the Ride Transit Program in the fall of 2017 which will benefit many current transit riders and provide incentive to non- or occasional riders to use transit with access to affordable transportation.

If I Currently Benefit From the Ride Transit Program, Can I Qualify for PATH?

No. Each program has its own eligibility criteria. The overall goal of Ride Transit Program and PATH is to identify and allocate passes based on need.

For More Information

Jeannette Wright


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