An innovative partnership between Kingston Transit and the Limestone District School Board (LDSB) has won a Sustainable Communities Award for Transportation from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM)
“Building a transit system that people in our community want to and like using is one our top priorities in Kingston, said Mayor Bryan Paterson. Getting our young people interested in public transit, how it can create independence for them has been amazing to see. Dynamic partnerships like the one we have with The Limestone District School Board help us continue to build a more sustainable future.”
The City of Kingston and the school board initiated the Kingston Transit Promotion and Orientation Project with Grade 9 students in 2012. The program takes Grade 9 students on a chartered Kingston Transit bus trip so they can learn about public transportation and its environmental and economic benefits.
“The main objective of this project has been to build confidence through knowledge and experience so that if students feel comfortable on the bus, understand the online route planning tools, and have a pass in their hand, they will be more apt to use the bus now and in the future,” says Dan Hendry, LDSB’s Sustainable Initiatives Coordinator, who runs the program.
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Based on the success of the initial pilot and increased ridership, the City of Kingston now offers free transit passes to all high school students, thanks in part to a subsidy from the school board, to further encourage them to use the bus.
Kingston Transit’s ridership has increased 70 per cent since 2012 – the highest rate of growth of any public transportation system in Canada.
“The transit pass and orientation program allows our students to exercise independence and responsibility in addition to increased access to recreational programs, volunteer opportunities, jobs or school programs,” says LDSB Director of Education Debra Rantz. “Limestone is proud to have expanded our successful transit partnership with the City of Kingston.”
“Dan is a tremendous ambassador for Kingston Transit and many young people take their first bus ride with him. He’s passionate about sustainability and his enthusiasm is contagious. We couldn’t be more proud,” says Jeremy Da Costa, manager, Kingston Transit.
The announcement of the award was made today ahead and will be presented next Tuesday, Feb. 6 at the FCM’s Sustainable Communities Conference in Ottawa.