Grade 8 Transit Quest

February 20th, 2020

The Ticket to Freedom For Youth and Parents

By Jaime Akiyama, GreenUP’s Transportation and Urban Design Program Coordinator

With March Break approaching, adolescents and parents are likely thinking two rather different things. Adolescents may be excited about a week of fun and freedom with friends. Meanwhile, parents and guardians may be wondering how to juggle work with adolescents who crave independence but depend increasingly upon a part-time chauffeur in order to enjoy that independence.

Enter the Grade 8 Transit Quest program. This program is sponsored by the City of Peterborough and coordinated by Active School Travel PTBO (AST PTBO for short, formerly known as Active & Safe Routes to School Peterborough). The Grade 8 Transit Quest provides free Peterborough Transit passes to all Grade 8 students within the City of Peterborough for the duration of March Break (from Friday March 13th to Sunday March 22nd, 2020).

In addition to the free transit passes, many local destinations get involved with the Grade 8 Transit Quest by providing free or discounted admission to Grade 8 students who take the bus during March Break.

Whether you are a parent who needs to motivate your kid, or a kid who needs to make the case to your parents, here is your one-stop resource on the four key benefits of the Grade 8 Transit Quest.

Seize the moment

GreenUP’s Jaime Akiyama introduces a class of Grade 3 students to public transit through the On the Bus program, one of the many programs offered through Active School Travel PTBO.

The Grade 8 Transit Quest increases youth familiarity with the Peterborough Transit system at a time in their lives when they are beginning to appreciate the ability to travel more independently.

This increase in independent mobility is more than just a gift for parents who would otherwise be chauffeurs. It also allows youth to better access activities, employment, and other opportunities.

Studies show that adolescence is a particularly influential period to introduce public transit as a way to be independent. Encouraging youth to use public transit increases the likelihood that they will use public transit in the future and be less reliant on cars as adults.

A 2018 study of youth transit users in Kingston, Ontario, suggests public transit provides a meaningful alternative mode of transportation for youth, and influences behavioural change for a more sustainable future.

Take climate action

The environmental benefits of pubic transit include reduced air pollution and traffic congestion from fewer vehicles on the road.

Public transportation directly benefits youth and their community. The environmental benefits include reduced air pollution and traffic congestion from fewer vehicles on the road.

Studies show transportation currently represents 23% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. Increased use of alternative transportation (including efficient public transit) is necessary in order to reduce emissions by decreasing the number of cars on the road.

Develop sustainable budget priorities

At one tenth the cost of car ownership, public transit is a compelling and healthy option for today’s youth to develop financial independence.

Even if a young person were legally able to drive a vehicle, the expense of owning and maintaining a vehicle is prohibitive for many people. Youth may not consider that the initial cost of the vehicle itself is only the beginning. Insurance, registration, maintenance, gas, and parking expenses amount to substantial ongoing costs.

Statistics Canada reports that in 2017, Ontario households spend on average one fifth of their income on private transportation. That is more than we spend on food. Buying a car should no longer be perceived as an adolescent right of passage, nor a symbol of independence. For many individuals and families, owning a car can be financially and environmentally unsustainable.

In 2017 Global News compared the expenses associated with vehicle ownership to adult public transit costs from the Canadian Urban Transit Association. They found that riding public transit is at least 10 times cheaper than owning a car.

Create safe and healthy habits

Introducing children and youth to public transit is a way to encourage a healthier lifestyle. Studies show that using public transit contributes to approximately a third of a child’s recommended daily physical activity. After all, transit trips often begin and end with a walk to or from a bus stop.

Public transit is a safe mode of travel that encourages positive habits associated with healthier lifestyles.

Studies show that using public transit contributes to approximately a third of a child’s recommended daily physical activity. After all, transit trips often begin and end with a walk to or from your bus stop.

In 2017 the American Heart Association found public transit users are 44% less likely to be overweight, 27% less likely to have high blood pressure, and 34% less likely to have diabetes compared to people who drive.

This March Break, take a break from the car. The AST PTBO Grade 8 Transit Quest program builds competences and knowledge that helps foster the independent mobility that youth crave.

Grade 8 Transit Quest passes, program information, and educational material will be delivered to schools the week before March Break. AST PTBO thanks school administrators and Grade 8 teachers for distributing the passes before the students leave for March Break.

If you have younger kids in your life, Peterborough Transit also offers a Day Pass that is a great option for family travel.  For eight dollars, up to two adults and four children can ride the bus all day. An efficient, sustainable transportation option, the Day Pass gives younger children a foundational experience with public transit. Day Passes can be purchased at Peterborough Transit sales outlets, the Transit Terminal on Simcoe Street, and at Lansdowne Place Mall.

About Active School Travel Peterborough

Active School Travel Peterborough (AST PTBO) promotes the use of active and sustainable transportation for the daily trip to school. AST PTBO works with local schools to implement programs that encourage students to walk, roll, or bus to school.

AST PTBO recognizes that public transit is also an important active and sustainable mobility choice, with numerous benefits for youth. Our various programs increase the knowledge and comfort levels of young transit riders, making public transportation both normal and accessible

Using public transit may be a new experience for youth. AST PTBO helps students prepare.  AST PTBO transit programs, like On The Bus and School Trip By Transit, introduce young students to transit experiences, often for the first time, and help build familiarity with the transit system.

For more Active School Travel Peterborough information visit peterboroughmoves.com or contact Jaime Akiyama at Jaime.akiyama@greenup.on.ca.

Posted in transportation


City of Peterborough

City of Peterborough

Peterborough Transit

Peterborough Transit

Related Programs

Active School Travel Peterborough

Active School Travel Peterborough

Grade 8 Transit Quest

Grade 8 Transit Quest