Free student transit fares pilot project in Kitimat

Students from kindergarten to Grade 12 can ride public transit for free starting in September

The District of Kitimat has announced free transit fares to all students in kindergarten to Grade 12. The pilot project runs from Sept. 2020 to Aug. 2021, and will be reviewed in early 2021 to see if it will be renewed. (Black Press photo)

The District of Kitimat has implemented free transit fares for students in kindergarten to Grade 12, as part of a one-year pilot project with BC Transit.

The project allows students attending elementary, middle, and high school in Kitimat and Kitamaat Village to board Kitimat buses for free. Students ages 15 to 18 will be required to show their student ID to be included in the project.

When students receive their student IDs in the fall, stickers will be provided to put on the IDs in order for students to board the bus for free. Students 14-years-old and younger will not be required to show an ID.

Students who do not currently have a student ID, or are unable to obtain one, can apply for a monthly pass and can pick it up at the District of Kitimat Municipal Hall.

READ MORE: Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Mayor of Kitimat, Phil Germuth, said that the District is hoping this pilot project will encourage more young people to use public transportation and help move Kitimat towards more eco-friendly transportation.

“What we’re hoping to do is, of course, introduce more young people to public transportation, to hopefully facilitate a shift towards cleaner transportation habits, and also support families by lifting the cost barriers, and increasing transportation access,” Germuth said. “So, we’re hoping also, you know, when it comes to cleaner transportation habits, instead of three or four parents grabbing their kids and having to drive them somewhere, well, no, here’s your bus pass, the kids can all get on the bus and go, instead of having all these vehicles driving around.”

Germuth added that the project will include the Kitimat bus system, as well as two routes on the Kitimat-Stikine bus system.

“It is applicable on the Kitimat transit system, but also on two parts of the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine system, and that is in the bus rides to Cable Car and to Kitamaat Village.”

READ MORE: Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

The pilot program was passed by Council in January 2020, and was supposed to begin in July, but was put on hold until September due to COVID-19 setbacks. The pilot program will now run from the beginning of September until August 31, 2021, and Council will review the project in early 2021 to see if it’s something that is being used and should be continued.

Given that it runs until the end of August, high school students who graduate in June 2021 will still be able to participate in the program until the pass expires at the end of the summer.

“We’re pleased to be able to support families by increasing the access to transportation and hopefully also supporting community shift towards more environmentally sustainable practices,” Germuth said.

Contact the District of Kitimat for more information on the pilot project.

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