02/13/2013 13:39 EST | Updated 04/15/2013 05:12 EDT

Anti-poverty activists call for lower STM fares

More than 100 anti-poverty activists gathered in front of Montreal City Hall today to call for reduced public transit rates for people in lower income brackets.

Jean Lalande, a member of a welfare rights committee in Pointe St-Charles, said STM fares are too costly for many people on fixed incomes, and that prevents them from using public transit to look for work and go to medical appointments.

“A lot of people have less than $100, sometimes less than $50 for all other expenses once they’ve paid rent and utilities, and it makes it impossible to use public transit,” Lalande said.

A monthly pass for buses and the metro system costs $77. Students and senior citizens can ride for a discounted rate of $45 per month.

Vision Montréal leader Louise Harel, as well as councillor and transport commission member Cindy Leclerc, were at the demonstration to support the citizens' coalition for fair STM transit fares.

STM vice-chairman Marvin Rotrand said he doesn't dispute the need for lower fares for people on limited incomes, but offering lower fares would have to be an initiative of the Quebec government, because the city simply doesn't have the means.

"It really, essentially, may be something the government of Quebec might want to address with policies that affect welfare recipients and others below the poverty line," Rotrand said.