City Life

Hamilton Kids Need Summer Transit/Pool Pass

A Splash and Ride pass would really contribute to making Hamilton the best place to raise a child.

By Thom Oommen
Published July 07, 2008

On vacation in Edmonton this summer, I discovered an amazing service offered by the city to its young people. Edmonton's Splash and Ride pass is for young people aged 17 or under. An affordable $87 pass lasts through July and August and entitles passholders to unlimited access to public transit and the city's fitness and pool facilities.

Edmonton's Splash and Ride Pass
Edmonton's Splash and Ride Pass

This amazing program promotes transit use at an impressionable age, demonstrating that transit is fun, safe and affordable. Young people also learn to plan their own routes and build confidence as they explore their city on their own.

As a bonus, young Edmontonians are encouraged to use fitness centres and pools whenever and wherever they like over the summer. Why sit at home playing video games when you can be active and play in the sun?

Hamilton should learn from cities like Edmonton and develop its own Splash and Ride pass. Given our levels of child poverty many young people do not have the funds to take transit or even go swimming at city pools.

Without stimulating and affordable options, they may get into trouble while on school holidays. These young people could even use the pass to get to and from a summer job in addition to accessing pools and recreation facilities.

Childhood obesity is also a major public health concern in Hamilton. Every year more and more children are at risk of diabetes and other diseases due to physical inactivity. Therefore an affordable and targeted program that promotes fun physical activity should be encouraged.

Programs like these are essential to growing the next generation of transit users and would be a marvelous and positive way of promoting the Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) to the community. A Splash and Ride pass would really contribute to making Hamilton the best place to raise a child.

Thom Oommen is passionate about building truly sustainable communities. But far from technological solutions and other flights of fancy, he believes that the only way to build a just and ecologically responsible community is to embrace frugality and simplicity. He is currently focusing on actively learning the skills that will enable him and his community to face an unknown future with a measure of confidence. Check out his blog.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted July 11, 2008 at 15:14:03

Thom,

Hamilton kids need to get off their butts and go outside for some exercise. Back in may day we didn't have these passes and we didn't sit around the house and become fat lards.

They were not needed then and they are not needed now. Do people need to be cajoled in to doing what is right nowadays?

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By lynnaquin (registered) | Posted July 18, 2008 at 00:17:01

Yes kids can go outside and play in their backyard or neighbourhood park and they do; but to get to a pool they need to be accompanied by an adult. I think the Edmonton splash and ride is a great idea. In Hamilton, the family bus pass is $8 and the swim is $2.25 each so for three children and an adult that is $17 a day. Even for someone with a good job that is a lot when you consider the whole summer.

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By volterwd (anonymous) | Posted August 10, 2008 at 18:58:25

17$ a day? How stupid would you have to be to not buy a family pass. Why must people always have to exaggerate the cost.

Not to mention if your a low income household you get a substantially reduced pass for culture and rec.

That said the summer bus pass for kids isn't a horrible idea, but im partial to a combination of walking, biking, and bussing... I think kids can do the same.

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By Sean Baker (anonymous) | Posted August 13, 2008 at 18:18:14

This could be a great thing to work on. As a swimming coach, I see the outdoor city pools as a very valuable resource to be able to offer swimming lessons through a community Summer Swim League. Most outdoor pools have limited hours of operation so there is opportunity to maximize the pools in the following manner. The Hamilton Aquatic Club in cooperation with the city lifeguards could run a great summer program and hit three birds with one stone; 1-Keep kids active 2-Utilize the city transportation effectively 3-teach the kids a life saving skill and possibly a sport that all can participate in. Feel free to add tot his idea and maybe it can be a great beginning.

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By *karen b (anonymous) | Posted August 24, 2008 at 01:06:27

I think Edmonton's example is admirable and a good idea for Hamilton. Encouraging transit use is a prudent use of city dollars, and keeping kids physically fit helps their overall health, mental agility and emotional development. It's all good and pays the community back in the long run.

Some corporate support and sponsorship wouldn't hurt either, because someone needs to help pay for it and these kids and their families aren't exactly asking for a handout at $87 per child -- that's a ton of money for many families to fork over all at once. Tim Horton's should be all over this!!!

And at a time when food and fuel costs are rising, it isn't any easier raising kids now, is it?

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