Next week is March Break. While the little ones might be happy to play at home or attend a daycamp, kids in the ‘tween’ age group are eagerly making their own plans to hangout with friends or participate in an activity around town. Chances are these plans may not include how to travel around to different destinations and this is when parents get bombarded with requests for rides.
Don’t let your week turn into a juggling act while you make sure the kids have access to the places and people that fill their plans. Kids who are independent enough to make their own arrangements for the March Break can also make their own travel plans. Walking and biking might be an option. For destinations that are further away or during questionable weather events, why not suggest the bus?
Peterborough Transit provides a safe and accessible alternative to driving. Learning how to read a transit map and schedule, using these resources to plan a trip, becoming comfortable on the transit system, knowing how to pay for the fare, recognizing stops, and transferring buses when needed, are all life skills that will help prepare students to travel independently.
Active and Safe Routes to School Peterborough runs an annual Grade 8 Transit Quest program to increase familiarity with the local transit system. All Grade 8 students within the City of Peterborough will be given a free transit pass so they can ride the bus for free over the March Break, from Friday, March 10th to Sunday, March 19th. Passes and transit maps will be delivered directly to school classrooms this week.
GreenUP Manager of Transportation and Urban Design Programs, Lindsay Stroud explain:
“Learning how to use the local transit system can help prepare students for experiences they will have with other transit systems when they move to other cities for college or university, or for work or travel. If students become familiar with Peterborough’s local bus service now, they will feel more comfortable using systems like the GO or Greyhound buses to get from city to city when they’re a bit older.
“Also, youth who use public transportation systems early are likely to become confident with navigating more complex transportation services in bigger cities, like subways and streetcars.”
Public transit is not only a good, independent mode of transportation for youth, it is beneficial to all of society. Using public transit saves money and helps the environment. Choosing to leave the car at home, or to not have a car at all, contributes to reducing gasoline consumption as well as reducing air pollution and traffic congestion.
For many, affording a car is not a possibility and having public transit is an affordable, necessary alternative. These days, many people are choosing not to rely on a car; The New York Times reports that millennials — the generation born through the early 1980s to early 2000s — are moving away from vehicle ownership.
The decrease is reportedly due to the high cost of owning a vehicle and the increased ease of using public transit. Various transportation options, from public transit to car and bike sharing, are allowing people to avoid the hassle of traffic and the high costs of vehicle ownership.
Whether youth choose to use public transit because of environmental concerns, cost-saving reasons, or through necessity to live and play, Active and Safe Routes to School Peterborough wants them to be knowledgeable, prepared, and confident to navigate all public transit systems. The experiences gained through the Grade 8 Transit Quest program will provide youth with valuable skills as they grow into independent adults.
Of course, The Grade 8 Transit Quest can be a lot of fun too, and can contribute to students’ plans for the March Break. Several destinations around Peterborough, including Zap Attack Laser Tag, Busy Brushes Pottery Painting, Bowlerama, the YMCA, the Peterborough Sport & Wellness Centre, and the Trent Athletics Centre have generously provided special offers and discounts to students with the Grade 8 Transit Quest pass.
Check out peterboroughmoves.com for more information about the Grade 8 Transit Quest or contact Jaime Akiyama, Coordinator of Transportation and Urban Design programs at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 705-745-3238 ext. 210.
All photos courtesy of Peterborough GreenUP.