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Kids ride free for Walk to School Week, Oct 5-9

Elementary and secondary school students can ride transit for free during International Walk to School Week on October 5-9, 2009!

While the event’s called Walk to School Week, the overall theme is really about discovering alternatives to private automobiles, so in 2007, TransLink announced an ongoing commitment to the week.

High school students need to show their GoCard to ride free, but elementary school students don’t need any special identification for the free rides.

Students, take the chance to explore the transit system and learn how to navigate around Metro Vancouver on buses, SkyTrain, and SeaBus!

Everyone should note that during this time, teachers may take the opportunity to use transit for field trips. We’re encouraging them to ride transit between 10 am and 2:30 pm, to avoid the heavy commuter times on the transit system.

We’re pleased to support International Walk to School Week, and we wish you every success this week!


15 Comments

  • By Josh, September 30, 2009 @ 10:10 am

    Does this include West Coast Express?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, September 30, 2009 @ 10:11 am

    Ooh — no it doesn’t. I’ll amend the post!

  • By lala, September 30, 2009 @ 2:07 pm

    When did they change this? I know for as long as i can remember it always included the WCE

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, September 30, 2009 @ 2:52 pm

    Yargh! I’m going to go double check this.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, September 30, 2009 @ 4:03 pm

    lala: OK, you’re right! WCE is included and it always has been. For some strange reason there was conflicting text provided to me, showing an exception for WCE. But: CORRECTED!

  • By David, September 30, 2009 @ 5:33 pm

    While I’m totally OK with all transit being free for a week, I’d really like to know who is using WCE to take their kids to school. I thought the whole point of building a school in each neighbourhood was to prevent long trips to/from school.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, September 30, 2009 @ 5:35 pm

    Funny you ask! I was just talking with WCE staff about that when we were confirming their participation in the week. Apparently very few kids take advantage of the offer during the week, and those who do might attend private schools that are out of their area.

  • By skytrainboy22, October 1, 2009 @ 7:01 am

    I really like this post. I guess for that week I don’t need a buspass, but just need my new GoCard with me. :)

  • By Joey C., October 7, 2009 @ 4:17 pm

    Is this for real? My friends and I took the 125 bus today and the bus driver wouldn’t believe that it was free transit from Oct. 5-9 and he was even threatening us by saying that if we don’t pay next time, he wouldn’t pick us up at the stop…

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, October 7, 2009 @ 4:20 pm

    Definitely for real. All drivers should have been notified about this. It’s in the October Buzzer too!

  • By Joey C., October 7, 2009 @ 4:33 pm

    Oh ok, thank you (and I thought I made a mistake or something!)

  • By Tony L, October 5, 2010 @ 10:12 pm

    It would have been nice if Translink had seen fit to provide handouts for the elementary students to take home or to at least ensure that their drivers knew what was going on. On Monday my wife took my 2 elementary school kids to swimming lessons on the bus and paid the fares, not a word from the driver. On the way home paid their fares again and again not a word from the driver. Today my wife takes my youngest up to swimming while the other is in class and again not a word from the driver and on the way home after she paid the fare the driver mumbled something about the buses being free. Pretty poor communication by the drivers after not having any handouts for the schools to distribute. When I phoned to inquire about it I got a very nice person in customer relations who answered all my questions and then went silent so I asked “So how do I get reimbursed for the 5 tickets we used that we shouldn’t have had to” said “Oh we don’t reimburse for that.” Now I was stunned! This was after all, the customer relations department and one would expect that Translink would like to have good customer relations. I told her that this was unbelievable and frankly unacceptable as there had been no information provided to the kids. Please understand that all the students have communication folders that all the important hand outs are in and go to and from the school every day and we have 2 children in different classes so I know it wasn’t just that one of the teachers missed putting it in the folder. There were no posters at the school, none of the other parents had heard anything about it. But it was, according to her and her immediate supervisor in the Buzzer and on the website. Well, I haven’t seen a copy of the Buzzer in a bus in ages and I go to the website when I need route information which is rarely as I know my routes and use them every day and it was in the paper – well I like many others use the online website of the Sun on a daily basis and I never saw anything about it there either. Finally after the first person’s supervisor went and talked to his boss Translink very reluctantly agreed to send me the 5 tickets that we never should have had to use anyway. Pretty poor customer relations and really poor communication. Next year put together hand-outs for the elementary school kids and put some posters in the schools.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, October 7, 2010 @ 4:05 pm

    Tony L: Wow! I’m so sorry about that. I’ve passed your comment on to our transport demand management department and here’s their response.

    We are very sorry that you initially paid the fare! We took many steps to inform the community about this opportunity, as was noted in the post – press release, website, and e-mails to various individuals actively working with schools/teachers. Our main focus was to inform teachers of the offer of free transit during Oct 4 to 8, especially as part of field trips in the region (where transportation costs can sometimes be a barrier). We informed each of the 11 school districts directly and provided a letter to teachers, which could be forwarded to each of their schools. It would then be up to teachers to inform their students. Front line staff were informed by their managers through several avenues (posters, screens in driver areas, etc.) We also provided a spreadsheet where schools could register their trips to ensure that they were no planning to take the bus at the same time as another local school. Unfortunately, we are not in a position to provide individual handouts for each student in Metro Vancouver. The cost associated with such an activity would be significant. But we do know that many classes took advantage of this offer by taking field trips with their students.

  • By Cheryl C, October 5, 2011 @ 5:42 pm

    My son does not have his Go Card yet as they have not been handed out. He has been paying all week and I only found out about this today. Neither of my 2 children have been told by bus drivers about this as they have taken the bus home for the last 3 days.

    The promo of this has been very poor and I am surprised they would do this when GoCards have not been distributed in all high schools.

  • By Cheryl C, October 5, 2011 @ 5:44 pm

    Perhaps the teachers’ strike should also have been taken into account when promoting this.

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