WHITEHORSE –The Yukon government and the City of Whitehorse have announced the expansion of a pilot program that will give more Whitehorse secondary school students the option to obtain free transit passes for the 2013-14 school year.
“Continuing to partner with the city on this project means more students will have the opportunity to experience the flexibility and independence that comes with using public transit,” Education Minister Scott Kent said. “We have received a lot of positive feedback from students who participated in the first two stages of the pilot.”
The transit passes will be purchased by Yukon Education, at a discounted rate, from the City of Whitehorse and will be provided free of charge to students who opt in to the project.
“By encouraging our students to use City buses, the pilot project contributes to our ongoing goal of increasing ridership, which in turn will improve the overall cost-effectiveness of the transit system,” Mayor Dan Curtis said. “Given the popularity of the project to date, I am hopeful that it will become a permanent initiative in future.”
The third phase of the pilot project will begin in September 2013 and run through June 2014. Secondary school students who reside in the Porter Creek, Crestview or Hamilton Boulevard areas and attend F.H. Collins or Vanier Catholic Secondary Schools are eligible for the program. Past phases of the program were only open to students in the Hamilton Boulevard area and ran for only a portion of the school year.
Fifty additional transit passes are being made available for this phase of the pilot, bringing the total number of passes to 150. Students who choose to participate in the program will be expected to use their transit passes in lieu of taking the school bus. This adjustment is intended to provide a better indicator of how strong interest is among secondary school students in using the city transit system.
“The project was inspired by other urban jurisdictions in Canada where secondary school students use public transit exclusively, rather than riding on school buses,” Kent added. “This phase of the pilot project will give us the opportunity to gather even more feedback from families and determine which direction to go in the future.”
Besides providing a more sustainable way to get to and from school, the passes will also give students an option for transportation if they stay late for after-school activities, and for getting to places other than home, such as the Canada Games Centre, during evenings and weekends.
Letters about the program are being sent to parents of eligible students. Parents can also contact Yukon Education at email@example.com or visit http://www.education.gov.yk.ca/transit.html for more information.
Transit Manager, City of Whitehorse