Project Encourages Students to Use Bus System

Transit Pilot Project Encourages Students to Use Public Bus System
Posted on 03/28/2019
Students from Colonel Gray High School will soon be among the regulars on T3 Transit buses in Charlottetown. Students from the school are working with the City of Charlottetown and T3 Transit on a pilot project. Each of the students who volunteered were given free transit passes and are encouraged to use the bus system as much as possible until mid-June. They’ll record their experiences, and provide feedback on the transit system as a whole.

The pilot is based on a project from the City of Kingston, Ontario where the municipality generated a 20-fold increase in student public transit ridership by providing a bus orientation program in their community. Kingston won a 2018 Sustainable Communities Award from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for the project.

“The goal for our pilot with Colonel Gray is to demonstrate to students that the transit system is easy to use and accessible. With the ReadyPass app that allows you to track where your bus is, it’s even more convenient than most people realize,” said Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown. “We hope to encourage youth to try transit, help students feel more comfortable navigating the bus schedules and also demonstrate the value of the public transit system, maybe inspiring some of the younger generations to become lifelong transit riders.”

Councillor Terry MacLeod, Chair of the City’s Environment and Sustainability Committee said all of the students participating in the pilot project will get volunteer hours, which they can use to apply for a Community Service Bursary.

“There is an incentive for the students to participate, but we’ve also found that they are keen to learn the bus schedules and try using the transit system themselves,” Councillor MacLeod said. “It’s a win-win because they will gain the volunteer hours and the experience, and we will have their feedback. What we plan to do is collect their reports and review them over the summer, working with T3 Transit on ways we might be able to extend this project to other schools or offer a similar program in the Fall to an even bigger group.”

“This is a tremendous initiative that we are happy to be a part of,” said Matthew Cassidy, Vice President of T3 Transit. “This pilot project is going to allow us to get first-hand feedback from students on how we can make transit a part of their daily lives. By teaching students how to use transit we are hoping to create lifelong riders of our system.”

Julia Brown is a Grade 12 student at the school. Although she has used transit when travelling elsewhere, she has never taken advantage of the system on PEI.

“I’ve thought about using it in the past but have been hesitant because I didn’t know much about it,” Brown said. “This pilot project, makes it easier to try transit and get familiar with it. I’m interested in the sustainability aspect, and think it’s important we consider using public transportation for that reason. I think this will encourage me to use transit in the future.”

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