Chilliwack is offering free bus service on Oct. 20, municipal election day, to encourage people to do their civic duty and vote. (Progress file)

Chilliwack is offering free bus service on Oct. 20, municipal election day, to encourage people to do their civic duty and vote. (Progress file)

Free transit on election day in Chilliwack on Oct. 20

City and transit officials are hoping for a better voter turnout by offering a free ride to the polls

There may be no free lunch, but there is a free ride to the polls today.

With the idea of encouraging a better voter turnout in Chilliwack for the 2018 municipal election, the city is following the lead of other B.C. jurisdictions in offering free bus service on election day, Oct. 20.

Voter turnout in Chilliwack was only 20.6 per cent in 2014, which was up from the dismal turnout of only 14.6 per cent in 2011. So council voted back in July to approve free service on Chilliwack Transit buses in the hopes of increasing participation.

There is precedent. It’s increasing seen as a worthwhile expense by various governments to improve the numbers of those who show up to cast their votes.

Last year for the provincial election, six B.C. communities offered free transit.

During the last municipal election, four B.C. communities made the bus ride to the polls complimentary.

Staff estimated it will cost about $1,800 to offer voters free bus rides on that one day.

Free transit service may result in an increased voter turnout and encourage transit ridership at the same time.

For more information on Chilliwack’s municipal election, check out theprogress.com

And don’t forget to check back after the polls close at 8 p.m. for full results.