More than 16,000 low-income people in the Halifax region will get free bus passes under a new poverty reduction program.

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said extending transit passes to people on income assistance will help meet a basic transportation need while all three levels of government work together with the community to address broader systemic causes of poverty.

“Public transit performs a vital role in helping residents get to work, appointments, child care, school, along with enabling them just to engage more fully in their own community,” Savage said.

“It’s about mobility, it’s about independence … it’s about a single parent who carries groceries home to save money who can now hop on a bus, even if it’s just a few blocks.”