Pictured Left to Right: Jaimie Kazuk ( Selkirk transit Authority financial officer), Sarah George ( summer program coordinator), Manav Sharma (Owner, Sunny Movers), John Cuthbert ( Selkirk Transit driver), Vern Cooper ( Selkirk Transit driver)
Community partners really do make the world go ‘round, and in Selkirk, they’re making getting around affordable and environmentally friendly.
Sunny Movers has climbed aboard and become the sponsor of adult bus passes for Selkirk Transit. That means adult riders can ride as much as they want in one month for $20, down from the regular rate of $45.
“These are tough times with inflation at a level we haven’t seen in decades,” said Charlene Dunning, Manager of Transportation Services for the STA.
“We appreciate Sunny Movers sponsorship and are thrilled to say they are the first ever sponsors of adult passes.”
Manav Sharma, owner of Sunny Movers, said an advertising opportunity has turned into a great partnership with STA that is beneficial to both parties.
“We were looking for high level exposure through our advertising and talked with Charlene about getting on the buses,” Sharma said.
“The sponsorship component was an added bonus, we get our message out and we’re able to be a community partner, and that’s important to me as a business owner.”
Youth, Adults and Seniors all riding at reduced rates thanks to sponsored bus passes
Everybody’s riding for a good deal now, with Frank’s Pizza sponsoring youth passes and Skinners handling senior passes. Selkirk Age Friendly also sponsors youth and senior passes. All passes are $20 per month.
Dunning said sponsorship is crucial to the affordability of riding the bus, and it’s much appreciated. Besides sponsorship, the service is funded by the city and through advertising and fares.
“Our sponsors are wonderful, they always have been. They share a commitment to the community and the environment and we are so thankful for them,” she said.
“Sponsorship demonstrates clearly the success of Selkirk Transit, and the ridership numbers back that up.”
Coun. Kelly Cook said the importance of sponsors to the service can’t be understated.
“Sponsors are important for a of couple reasons. They certainly allow riding the bus to be very affordable, and ultimately that helps encourage more citizens to try transit and hopefully that leads to a change in the culture and more people will utilize the service in a regular basis,” Cook said.
“We are so fortunate to have a very loyal sponsorship base of businesses in our community.”
Coun. Doug Poirier, who along with Cook, is a council representative on the transit committee, agreed sponsors are important, and at a time when gas prices are skyrocketing, an even more affordable bus pass is timely.
“I think if people are looking for a break from prices at the pump this gives them another option,” Poirier said.
“When $20 a month will take you around the city it’s got to make you think about parking your car. It’ll keep some green in your pocket and more green in the environment too. So thanks to all our sponsors, they help is so many ways.”
Ridership continues continue to increase – thanks to safe and friendly service
Last year, when the STA celebrated 10 years of service, almost 300,000 riders had hopped aboard a city bus. Dunning said the numbers are impressive and they’ve continued to climb year after year. The pandemic of course decreased ridership, but numbers have rebounded with a 15% increase this year from the same time period last year.
Selkirk’s transit system is in line with the city’s strategic plan that calls for the smooth operation of transportation systems and promotes environmental stewardship.
When people take the bus they reduce the number of cars on the road and help decrease greenhouse gas emissions. In 2016 Selkirk council approved its GHG Reduction Plan that called for a reduction of corporate levels to 20 per cent below 2011 levels by 2026. Last year, the city enacted its Greenhouse Gas Accountability Bylaw, the first of its kind in Manitoba.
Selkirk Transit began service in 2011 and has grown tremendously since then. At that time, the service was a two-bus fleet, capable of accommodating 22 riders on each.
Transit has two Vicinity buses that are fully accessible, have kneeling features for those with mobility issues as well as access ramps. The buses can accommodate 27-seated riders. A third bus is part of the fleet as a backup.
Transit passes are available on the bus and through Selkirk Transit by calling 204-482-INFO(4636). Sunny Movers sponsorship of adult passes runs until Dec. 31 of this year.