Saint-la­zare ready to roll with Ado­bus

L'Etoile - - IN OTHER WORDS -

Saint-La­zare teens it­ching to do some skiing at Mont-Ri­gaud will have a new ride in town be­gin­ning la­ter this month.

But pa­rents and teens alike are in­vi­ted to­mor­row eve­ning to at­tend the of­fi­cial launch of the Town’s so-cal­led Ado­bus, a mode of tran­spor­ta­tion ex­clu­si­ve­ly ca­te­ring to Saint-La­zare youths bet­ween 12 and 17 years old.

Saint-La­zare com­mu­ni­ca­tions agent Valérie St-Amant said though the bus will make its first of­fi­cial run to Mont-Ri­gaud, one of six plan­ned runs this win­ter, on Jan. 18, to­mor­row’s launch will give tee­na­gers and pa­rents a chance to see what the ser­vice is all about.

“This is the first tee­nage tran­spor­ta­tion ser­vice we’ve ever had,” St-Amant no­ted, ad­ding, “We want to make it a par­ty and in­vite eve­ryone to come see what it’s all about.”

The par­ty will in­clude hot chocolate for eve­ryone, as well as a chance to win two full day skiing passes at Mont-Ri­gaud (a $70 va­lue.) Pa­rents will al­so be gi­ven forms they can si­gn so their teens will be able to use the bus.

St-Amant said all po­ten­tial ri­ders must abide by a code of con­duct or risk being ex­pel­led from using the ser­vice, which is free for all Saint-La­zare teens in the right age range.

There is room on the bus, a school bus with ser­vice pro­vi­ded by Campeau Au­to­bus, for up to 48 youths. There will be a dri­ver on the bus, but St-Amant says there will not be a mo­ni­tor to watch the teens.

Ser­vice

Ado­bus’ ser­vice to Mont-Ri­gaud will run a to­tal of six Friday nights eve­ry two weeks be­gin­ning Jan. 18. The ad­di­tio­nal dates are: Feb. 1, Feb. 15, March 1, March 15. Each time the bus will de­part from the SaintLa­zare Com­mu­ni­ty Centre, 1301, rue du Bois, at 6:30 p.m. sharp, and will leave from Mont-Ri­gaud at 9:15 p.m. in or­der to ar­rive at the com­mu­ni­ty centre by 9:30 p.m. St-Amant says the ser­vice may be post­po­ned or can­cel­led if wea­ther and road condi­tions are dee­med un­safe.

The Town says all seats on the bus will be filled on a first come first ser­ved ba­sis. No head counts will be done be­fore de­par­ting MontRi­gaud. Teens who miss the bus will be res­pon­sible for ar­ran­ging their own ride home.

Ac­cor­ding to St-Amant, ma­ny SaintLa­zare pa­rents have cal­led in to ex­press in­te­rest in the ser­vice.

“People seem ve­ry hap­py that we’re going to do this... They want to know when it will start,” she com­men­ted.

There will be plen­ty of sto­rage room un­der the bus for ski and snow­board equip­ment.

Idea

The idea for Ado­bus was born last April when more than 20 Saint-La­zare teens bet­ween 12 and 18 years of age at­ten­ded the Town’s first Youth Fo­rum. The fo­rum’s goal was to get lo­cal youths in­vol­ved in ma­king decisions on po­li­cies that would af­fect them, as well as to bridge a gap bet­ween elec­ted of­fi­cials and ci­ti­zens. The Town al­so wan­ted to high­light its status as one of two Que­bec towns with the youn­gest po­pu­la­tions.

In ear­ly 2011, Sta­tis­tics Ca­na­da re­sults sho­wed 31 percent of Saint-La­zare’s po­pu­la­tion - or a lit­tle less than 20,000 people - were un­der the age of 20. The town tied with Blain­ville for the you­th­ful dis­tinc­tion.

Teens at­ten­ding the fo­rum were as­ked to de­mo­cra­ti­cal­ly de­cide how best to spend $10,000 that was gi­ven to the pro­cess. Af­ter a day of work­shops, dis­cus­sions and de­bates, it was de­ci­ded that $6,000 of the money would be chan­nel­led in­to hol­ding four ad­di­tio­nal teen dances a year. The re­mai­ning $4,000 was gi­ven over to the crea­tion of a teen tran­spor­ta­tion ser­vice, Ado­bus. At the time, youth fo­rum or­ga­ni­zers felt the choices re­flec­ted the teens’ de­sire to so­cia­lize and be able to at­tend other events in the re­gion.

“Ado­bus will run year round,” StA­mant said, ad­ding, “We pro­ba­bly won’t use it in sum­mer since the kids will be on va­ca­tion, but we’ll use it again in fall once an iti­ne­ra­ry has been de­ci­ded.”

She said the bus will on­ly tra­vel to lo­cal des­ti­na­tions such as Mont-Ri­gaud for skiing, or to Vau­dreuil-Do­rion for the swim­ming pool.

The Ado­bus launch for teens and pa­rents will get un­der­way to­mor­row night at 6 p.m. in the Saint-La­zare Com­mu­ni­ty Centre par­king lot. Youths are in­vi­ted to wear ski goggles and snow­suits in or­der to be eli­gible to win the pair of passes to Mont-Ri­gaud Ski Hill. Pa­rents will al­so be able to get one-time forms that must be filled out be­fore their kids can be eli­gible to ride the bus. Hot chocolate will be ser­ved and the bus will al­so be on site.

For in­for­ma­tion, call the Saint-La­zare Re­crea­tion De­part­ment at 450 424-8000, ex­ten­sion 220.

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