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Free transit for teens campaign catches steam in Vernon

Two Fulton Secondary students presented to council on Monday, May 13
A presentation was made to MLA Harwinder Sandhu by Clarence Fulton Grade 10 students Haylee Andal (far left) and Jade Ha (far right), along with Dr. Mary Stockdale regarding a new initiative, Transit For Teens. The goal of the program is to give free transit to youth aged 12-18 in Vernon. (Contributed)

Vernon is getting on board with an initiative to eliminate city bus fares for students.

Grade 10 Clarence Fulton Secondary students Haylee Andal and Jade Ha presented to council on Monday, May 13 a Transit For Teens campaign to give free transit to youth aged 13-18 in the city.

“What we are asking council is to write a letter of support for free transit for B.C. teens and to invest in a better transit system in Vernon,” said Andal and Ha of the province-wide campaign that has been localized to Vernon.

Currently, fares are free for kids aged 12 and under. This campaign is aiming to make it free for youths aged 18 and under.

Part of the presentation was the survey report of over 285 Vernon students, parents, and teachers regarding their opinions of local transit in Vernon. Among some of the results, 38 per cent stated that they currently do not take the bus, but if busing was free, then 89 per cent of respondents would take public transit.

The presentation and survey are part of school projects the students are doing for the School District’s Climate Action Ripple Effect (CARE) project.

According to the students, the cost of a one-way bus fare from the East Hill area in Vernon to their school, Fulton Secondary, is $2.50.

The teens had already presented to MLA Harwinder Sandhu and will be presenting to delegates from School District 22 on Wednesday, May 15. They also asked council to invest more in the transit system, so that the buses “run more frequent, run later, be more on time, and reach more areas of the community.”

Coun. Kelly Fehr thanked the two students for presenting.

“The cost for larger cities would be significant,” said Fehr. “I don’t think the costs would be too much here. We don’t make decisions the day of typically, but I want to thank you for coming here.”

Coun. Kari Gares echoed most of what Fehr stated, saying that, “It isn’t necessarily an easy battle, but we can definitely put our support behind it.”

Coun. Brian Guy also thanked the students, then made a motion to send the presentation to the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM), which will take place in September. The presentation was received for information and Guy’s motion passed.

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Bowen Assman

About the Author: Bowen Assman

I joined The Morning Star team in January 2023 as a reporter. Before that, I spent 10 months covering sports in Kelowna.
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