Pilot Project Aims to turn Drivers Into Transit Riders

February 29, 2008 - News Release

Gaining new Guelph Transit customers and reducing the number of cars on the road are the goal of a pilot project between the City of Guelph and two of its largest employers, the University of Guelph and The Co-operators.

The project, which was kicked off today in downtown Guelph, will offer special monthly transit passes to U of G and Co-operators employees at a 15-per-cent discount off the regular price. Guelph Transit will monitor sales to determine whether the discount is an effective incentive to encourage increased transit ridership.

The goal is to increase bus ridership and boost awareness of the benefits of and advantages of public transit, which include improved air quality, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and improved road safety and traffic flow.

"We are very pleased to be partnering with the city and The Co-operators on this innovative initiative," said Nancy Sullivan, vice-president (finance and administration). "It's a perfect fit with the University's many other initiatives focused on environmental sustainability and energy conservation."

The project is the outcome of an employee travel survey conducted at U of G and The Co-operators in June 2007, which indicated that people would consider taking transit if the cost was reduced.

"We were delighted when The Co-operators and the University of Guelph approached us with the idea for an employee transit pass," said Mayor Karen Farbridge. "We are always looking for new ways to increase transit ridership, and residents who drive to work every day are a key market for us. With this new pilot project, along with Council's approval of 20-minute transit service beginning in July, I am confident that we will have many new customers who adopt transit as a convenient, affordable and sustainable mode of transportation."

The Co-operators and the University of Guelph will promote the passes to their employees and administer sales on behalf of Guelph Transit.

"As one of the largest local employers and one that is — like the University and the city — committed to reducing our environmental footprint, we take our responsibility to combat climate change very seriously," said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. "So we're excited to be part of this pilot project aimed at reducing the number of greenhouse gas-emitting vehicles being used to get our Guelph-based employees to and from work every day."

The employee transit pass pilot project is part of the city's transportation demand management program, which encourages sustainable modes of transportation as alternatives to driving alone.


Ian Weir
Manager, Parking Services & Transportation Planning
University of Guelph
519-824-4120 ext 52328

Randall French
Manager of Transit Services
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 ext 2795

Leonard Sharman
Media Relations Specialist
The Co-operators Group Ltd.
519-767-3925 ext. 2707

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1