Increased monthly parking rates for Day Lots 1, 2 and 3 will allow all Whistler secondary school students to ride the bus for free
Parents of Whistler secondary students can put their chauffeur hats away now that the Resort Municipality of Whistler has launched a pilot project that will put all Whistler students in secondary school on local transit for free in 2020.
Council endorsed resolutions presented by the Transportation Advisory Group at their regular meeting on November 5, which included a recommendation to launch a pilot project that would provide all Whistler secondary students with free bus passes for the Whistler Transit System.
“At the climate rally last month I encouraged the students who marched to municipal hall to take action on climate change by filling our buses and getting out of cars,” said Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton. “I’m thrilled that we are able to provide them with free transit to do that. I want to see our ridership numbers increase so that we are forced to put more buses on the road and increase our transit service hours. Getting more people out of private passenger vehicles and onto transit is a major climate action goal here in Whistler and I know that our high school students can lead the way by taking transit.”
Families are reminded that Whistler’s Family Transit Program allows up to three children under the age of 12 to travel for free per each fare-paying adult. The Family Transit Program, combined with free transit for Whistler secondary students, makes transit an affordable way for families to get around town. Even though the Maytober Challenge wrapped up in October, all Whistler residents are encouraged to continue switching out at least one trip a week by private passenger vehicle for a lower GHG transportation choice such as transit. Making the switch directly helps reduce the largest source of GHG emissions within Whistler.
The funding for free transit for Whistler Secondary students will come from an increase to monthly parking passes in Day Lots 1, 2 and 3. Passes will increase from 50 dollars per month to 60 dollars per month. The increased revenue raised will offset the cost of providing an annual transit pass to Whistler Secondary students. Parking rates for the Day Lots are managed by the Day Lot Operating Committee, through a partnership agreement between the RMOW and Whistler Blackcomb with net revenues allocated to the Community Transportation Initiative Fund. Council also endorsed that programs funded through the Community Transportation Initiative Fund should meet the following criteria:
- Improve affordability
- Improve transportation for residents and visitors
- Increase transit affordability and reliability
- Reduce congestion
- Create transportation choice
- Solve more than one issue
- Address year-round transportation challenges
- Promote and support preferred modes of transportation
- Reduce environmental impact.
The free bus passes for Whistler Secondary students is a pilot project that will launch in early 2020. The RMOW’s overall goal is to help create a generation that regularly chooses transit as their primary mode of travel.