You’re not alone in Vancouver, but the city’s growing affordability crisis makes getting a ride a tough proposition.
In the capital, the average price of a private car is $5,813, according to the B.C. Ministry of Transportation, which includes a $400 surcharge for seniors who can’t afford to buy a vehicle.
It’s not the first time the province has charged seniors to get around town.
In 2005, it was charged $5.55 for seniors over 65 and $1.30 for people with disabilities.
This year, the price is $1,000.
The surcharge also covers car insurance, while car registration is free.
But the average car owner doesn’t necessarily need to pay for their own car, says Mike O’Sullivan, a spokesman for the BCTF, the B-TRAX and the BMO auto trade-union.
A driver who’s not able to drive himself is required to pay $100 a month in parking fees, but he can also buy a ride on the private hire car.
“If someone doesn’t have a car, they’re paying to be driven around,” says O’ Sullivan.
But it can be hard to make that commitment.
For example, the City of Vancouver has a list of carpool options, but it’s not always clear which are free.
You can buy a car on a private hire, which is a licensed private hire vehicle with a vehicle license plate.
However, a driver can’t use a vehicle on private hire.
The list of free carpool programs is open to public comment until January 15, 2020.
O’Dwyer says he doesn’t think he’d be able to afford a private ride, but that the government can help if someone wants to do so.
“I think it’s a bit of a problem for people who are on a fixed income, so if someone can’t find a ride, we’ll look at that,” he says.
Oddly enough, the city has offered a discount on private vehicles to seniors and people with chronic health issues for two years, says Ouellette, the spokesperson.
“It’s just not a good fit for people,” she says.
The BCTFs website also offers a free ride to a city employee or a private security officer, and a free trip to a park for seniors with disabilities if they meet certain requirements.
However the provincial government has not made public its policies for using the private car for seniors, Ouelelle says.
In 2017, the province increased the cost of a single private vehicle from $1 to $2,500, so seniors and those with disabilities will be able use the car to get to work.
The city of Vancouver did not respond to a request for comment.
The government has also said that if you’re looking for a vehicle, the private garage is a good option, O’Meara says.
“They can come and pick you up.”
This article was first published on The Globe and Mail.