Barrie Transit is now offering field trip passes to 10 elementary schools, allowing teachers to take their students on trips to local buildings and attractions using a city bus at no cost.
“The overall goal is to provide additional services to our residents where we have capacity,” Brent Forsyth, Barrie’s director of transit and parking strategy, told Global News. “The ultimate goal, I would suggest, is to educate our younger citizens to promote the use of transit.”
The initiative, which began in December 2018, is a pilot project offered at 10 elementary schools in the South County District School Board and the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, and is in conjunction with the Simcoe County Student Transportation Consortium, according to a release issued by the City of Barrie.
“One of the big pushes, in terms of getting riders, is most federal and provincial funding programs are derived off of ridership,” Forsyth said. “So the higher your ridership, the more provincial and federal funding you get related to transit.”
Each field trip pass, which teachers can sign out from their schools’ offices, is valid for unlimited travel for up to 30 students and five adults on any of Barrie Transit’s 10 two-directional routes, the release says.
“Schools involved in the pilot have already used our buses to travel to learning destinations such as Barrie’s recreation centres, theatres, libraries and city hall,” Forsyth said in the release.
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The Barrie elementary schools involved in the pilot project are:
- Allandale Heights Public School
- Ardagh Bluffs Public School
- Emma King Elementary School
- Monsignor Clair Catholic Elementary School
- St. John Vianney Catholic Elementary School
- St. Monica’s Catholic Elementary School
- Steele Street Public School
- W.C. Little Elementary School
- West Bayfield Elementary School
- Willow Landing Public School
According to Forsyth, the feedback from teachers has been “very positive in terms of the flexibility and in terms of time of day.”
“During school hours, we run half-hourly service basically all over the city, so it allows them to really travel kind of any time they want throughout the day,” Forsyth added.
The pilot project runs until the end of the 2018-19 school year.