Seniors to ride STL buses for free

Demers budget delivers on his election promises

By Geneviève April

Promise made, promise kept: Laval senior citizens 65 and up will soon ride Laval’s public transports for free.

“The 2014 budget will permit Laval senior citizens to travel free-of-charge at all times on city buses as early as next year,” said Mayor Marc Demers’ spokesman François Brochu. “Our electoral platform proposed offering free fares only outside of rush hours, but we have [subsequently] decided to implement it at all times. 

“The free fare policy applies only to seniors who are Laval residents,” he added, “and the specifics as to how it will operate—be it with a card or another method—remain to be worked out.”

The 2014 budget also absolves senior citizen from their water tax bill. This exemption has voted into effect each year for several years and Mayor Marc Demers decided to retain the cost-saving measure for seniors in his first budget, keeping true to another electoral promise. The water tax exemption has long been welcomed by Laval seniors, who can save up to $200 depending on their income.

Laval citizens will also be pleased to learn that the average rate of taxation has been frozen.

“This doesn’t mean that some citizens won’t see a small increase on their next tax bill, but the overall average tax rate [that the city collects] has been frozen,” Brochu explained. In 2013, former mayor Alexandre Duplessis also tabled a budget that froze property taxes, and even decreased taxes slightly for some condo owners.

As Demers stated during the Dec. 2 city council meeting, the 2014 budget won’t accomplish all his Mouvement lavallois party’s objectives, because of decisions taken by the preceding administration.

“In 2015, we will see a budget that much more reflects ML’s vision,” he promised.

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