Victoria – The Victoria Regional Transit Commission will provide every refugee resettled in the greater Victoria region with a free one-year bus pass. A motion to establish this program was brought forward by Kenya Rogers, Director of External Relations for the University of Victoria Students’ Society (UVSS) and member of the Victoria Regional Transit Commission. The motion passed unanimously at yesterday’s commission meeting.

“This initiative will ensure that those fleeing heart-wrenching circumstances are able to get around the city they now call home,” said UVSS Director of External Relations Kenya Rogers. “Providing a bus pass to refugees is just one way of supporting individuals who are faced with the difficulties of resettlement and integration into a new community. It will allow for newcomers to move freely around the city and to access the many services, community groups, and public spaces in the region.”

The bus passes will be available for refugees resettled in the region between December 1, 2015 and December 31, 2016 and the motion includes a provision that could see it become a permanent program. Although this initiative was a response to the unfolding crises in Syria and the Mediterranean, bus passes will be provided to any refugees resettled in the region, regardless of country of origin.

“We’re very proud that this motion was brought forward by the student representative on the Transit Commission,” said Andrea Eggenberger, Camosun College Student Society (CCSS) External Executive. “It’s exciting that the shared student seat on the Transit Commission is helping to make the Greater Victoria Region a supportive and welcoming place for refugees.”

Students are now challenging municipalities and transit authorities across the country to provide free transit access to refugees. If you support this initiative, tweet and tag your mayor, city councillors, transit chair, and any public official using the hashtag #WelcomeOnBoard.

The University of Victoria Students’ Society (UVSS) was established in 1964 and represents the 17,000 undergraduate students at the University of Victoria. The UVSS would like to recognize that the University of Victoria is built on the unceded unsurrendered territories of the Lekwungen and WSANEC Peoples and its presence on this land is in itself an act of violence.

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Kenya Rogers UVSS Director of External Relations –