This Friday, to “celebrate the role that public transit plays in St. John’s,” Happy City — in partnership with Cities for People, Municipalities NL, and Metrobus — will be pulling off the first ever BusFest.

In most cities, efficient bus routes, amazing subway systems, and bicycle-friendly roadways make public transit convenient, economically swell, and environmentally friendly.  While our city is too old to be a grid city that enjoys subways, or one that’s open to bike lanes and Bixie Bike style transportation, we do have … The Metrobus. An under-used method of public transit that gets a bad rep in St. John’s. Aside from an inefficiency one could blame on a poorly planned city, it shouldn’t be seen as a lousy way to get somewhere. And that’s probably the spirit of BusFest: to raise awareness about what public transit we do have here. And to start some dialogue on how to make it better.

BusFest will have poets, theatre folk, and musicians performing on buses around the city, plus free coffee and snacks will be served from 7-9am at the major transfer points (The malls & MUN). There’s also a social media component: people are asked to take the bus for the day and tweet their experiences using the #BusFestSJ hashtag.

To kick it all off, there’ll be a “Pub[lic transit] Night” at O’Reilly’s on Thursday night, “where bus riders, drivers, and public transit enthusiasts will get together to dream up ideas for a thriving transit system.”

Ultimately, the idea is to get people engaged with public transit, and start some dialogue on how to strengthen it here. Not a bad plan. Artists are getting paid and heard, people are getting fed. Why not check it out?

Can you ride the bus for the day? Click here to take the BusFest Pledge and let St. John’s know that you’ll be riding – they’ll tweet out the list regularly as the 19th approaches.