Forty thousand junior high and high school students in Edmonton may soon be able to use their student bus passes to ride transit on the weekend.
Edmonton Transit is considering changing its long-standing policy that limits the use of student transit passes to weekdays, Pat Waisman, director of business development for the city-owned transit system, said Monday.
"Transit should be an option for any time you want to travel, whether it's for school, for play, for library, whatever. That would be something we want to encourage people to do," Waisman told CBC News.
The news comes as hundreds of local students have joined an online movement on the social networking site Facebook calling for the change.
"A lot of us have classes on the weekends or we're doing extracurricular activities and we can't get to the school unless our parents drive us," said Erin Denhartigh, a Grade 11 student at Edmonton's Victoria School for the Visual and Performing Arts.
Student Pauline Voon started the Facebook group, which has grown to 220 members. She said she is amazed by how the site has caught on.
"I think it shows how much they really care about this issue and how much it would mean to them to have the weekend restrictions lifted."
Parent would welcome change
Parent Diana Dombroski spends a lot of time on the weekend taxiing her daughter Kristin around Edmonton,
"It's pretty much an all-day event," she said.
She doesn't understand why the city would offer the bus passes to students and then limit the hours they can be used.
"You know, it's sort of contradictory. They should make it a little easier for them to use their bus passes."
Edmonton Transit sells the student bus passes to the two local school boards for $42 a month. The school boards provide the passes to students at subsidized rates ranging from $22 to $38 a month.
Students pay about half the cost of an adult transit pass, which sells for $66.50.
The change will require the support of city council and the two school boards before it can be implemented.
Transit officials will be meeting with the school boards to discuss the idea this week.
It should not mean any increase in the price of the pass, Waisman said.