VIC students enter Public Transport Challenge

By: Chris Smith

Students in year seven to 10 will show Melbournians a greener way to travel, using public transport to explore the

Students in year seven to 10 will show Melbournians a greener way to travel, using public transport to explore the city in the final of the Public Transport Challenge on Friday, June 6.

Starting from the National Gallery of Victoria, 22 teams from 19 secondary schools around the city will compete in the final to decide which will be crowned Melbourne’s most public transport savvy school.

Using trains, trams and buses, students will visit up to 25 attractions and landmarks across the CBD and Melbourne’s inner and middle suburbs over four hours, solving puzzles and collecting points along the way.

Now in its fourth year, the Public Transport Challenge is a Metlink and Environment Victoria initiative that encourages young people to catch public transport, educating them about its environmental benefits and other environmental issues affecting Melbourne.

"Armed with a map, a safety briefing, timetables and a Metcard, these students have the city and suburbs at their fingertips,’’ Metlink CEO, Bernie Carolan says.

"The challenge prepares students to take responsibility for getting around independently, instead of relying on their parents as a taxi. It also encourages other Melbournians to leave the car at home and choose to travel by train, tram or bus more often," he says.

Battling it out in a game of skill and strategy, the teams of four students and one adult supervisor, will learn the ins and outs of Melbourne’s extensive public transport network.

Minister for Public Transport Lynne Kosky says the Public Transport Challenge provides a great opportunity for students to learn how trains, trams and buses connect Melbourne.

"Public Transport is a great way to travel around Melbourne, without the stress of sitting in traffic or searching for car parks it provides a service that is cheaper, easier and better for the environment than taking the car," Kosky says.

With the final occurring the day after World Environment Day, Environment Victoria’s CEO, Kelly O’Shanassy says the challenge encourages students to use sustainable modes of transport.

O’Shanassy says reliance on cars is resulting in climate change, pollution and traffic congestion.

She says the Public Transport Challenge shows how easy it is to get out of the car and get around using sustainable transport options.

"Transport accounts for 34 percent of the average family’s greenhouse gas emissions. Shifting from the car to public transport is one of the easiest ways to immediately reduce your impact on climate change," O’Shanassy says.

Students are expected to travel a combined 3200km in the final, saving the equivalent of nearly 370 litres of petrol, or enough greenhouse pollution to fill an entire house.

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