Starting January 2, kids 12 and under can ride Peterborough Transit for free

Pilot program will run during all of 2022 and will be funded through city's climate change fund

A Peterborough Transit bus. (Photo: City of Peterborough)

Children 12 years of age and younger can ride Peterborough Transit for free during 2022, beginning Sunday (January 2).

Under the pilot program, eligible children will not require a transit pass to ride the bus and will not be required to provide proof of age.

The pilot program applies to all regular transit routes in the City of Peterborough as well as registered users of the specialized van service. It does not include The Link bus service that runs between the city and Selwyn Township.

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The intention of the pilot program is to create “more lifetime transit riders” according to city councillor and transportation co-chair Kemi Akapo.

“Children will not only learn to navigate the city and see public transit as their chosen travel option, they will also appreciate and contribute to the benefit of public transit in reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Akapo says in a media release.

When boarding the bus, either the child or the adult they are travelling with must let the bus driver know that they are 12 years old or under. Alternatively, children can show the driver a free child pass. The passes are available upon request by contacting Peterborough Transit customer service at 705-745-0525.

The pilot program was approved by city council during a finance committee meeting in November.

To offset the cost of lost fares, up to $25,000 from the city’s climate change action plan capital project will be transferred to Peterborough Transit’s 2022 operations budget. Staff will report back to council during the 2023 budget process to provide an update on the results of the pilot project.

Other transit systems in Ontario already operate similar programs. The TTC began offering free rides for children 12 and under in 2015, and GO Transit did the same in 2019.