Airdrie City Council has just made taking transit in Airdrie for youth between the ages of six and 18 cheaper and easier.  

At their meeting earlier this week, council approved a reduction in the monthly bus pass and also voted in favour of a bus fee waiver during the summer months in 2019 in a pilot project.

Airdrie Transit Team Lead Chris MacIsaac says starting in January 2019, the cost of a monthly bus pass for people six to 18 will go from $47.50 to $25.  MacIsaac says council made the original recommendation to reduce the fee and left it up to administration to research what's being done elsewhere in Canada.

"There are a number of programs throughout Alberta and across Canada that are similar to what council approved.  It's in line with what's happening in our industry and a means to encourage youth riders to utilize public transit more frequently by reducing the fee to use the service."

Council also approved a waiver of the transit fees for July and August of 2019.  MacIsaac explained the rationale behind the move.

"To give them more mobility options in the summer, when they're not in school, so they can connect better in their community.  Whether that be going to Genesis Place for summer programming, to the skate park at Chinook Winds Regional Park, or even some of the programming throughout the community, be it the Airdrie Public Library or the Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie."

MacIsaac says the idea of removing barriers for youth ridership and connecting with their communities is all part of the mission of Airdrie Transit.

"Our mission is really to connect people to place and we think that the reduction or elimination of fees.  This is a first step for us, it's a pilot for the summer for this year to better understand what the uptake of the program is and how youth respond to the elimination of fees for fixed route service.  For the monthly passes that will go on sale in January for $25 each, it'll be in place for at least a year and we'll certainly be sharing information back with city council in terms of what the usage looks like and how that change has impacted public transit in the community."

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