Adnan Bajric poses at the side door of the Calgary Transit Karaoke Bus at the Brentwood Train Station in Calgary on Wednesday, July 6, 2022. Bajric is a Calgary Transit operator, and he also appeared in the commercial promoting the Karaoke Bus. The City of Calgary started the Karaoke Bus to encourage people to use Calgary Transit, but to also let them know it can be a fun experience. (Alejandro Melgar/The Emery Weal).

Calgarians can now belt out tunes on the way to work thanks to Calgary Transit’s latest move to attract more riders.

On Wednesday, July 6, Calgary Transit played host to the first ever Karaoke Bus, which is a way to encourage more Calgarians to ride Transit.

According to a report from CBC, Calgary Transit ridership plummeted to a decade low in 2020 due to COVID-19, so the musical bus is a method to bring that number up.

“We’re looking at different ways of activating C-Train spaces and the transit trip in general; really make it exciting for customers,” said Stephen Tauro, Communications Information Lead for Calgary Transit.

“Our task is to try to recover ridership with these fun little things, and remind people that taking transit is more than just going from A to B.”

The bus is going to appear randomly to surprise customers over the next week, but those routes will have another bus to accommodate riders on the go.

“You never know, maybe the operator, during the timepoint stop or end of the line, may jump on the mic and drop a verse or two,” said Tauro.

Tauro said the transit operators don’t need a singing background, but some were really excited about this opportunity.

In 2020, ridership reached roughly 52 million people, compared to 106.4 million in 2019 — a 51 per cent decrease overall.

Adnan Bajric, right, sings with a transit rider inside the Calgary Transit Karaoke Bus at the Brentwood Train Station in Calgary on Wednesday, July 6, 2022. The City of Calgary started the Karaoke Bus to encourage people to use Calgary Transit, but to also let them know it can be a fun experience. (Alejandro Melgar/The Emery Weal).

Transit riders sing loud and clear

The bus held a dozen riders, who were all there to support the singers as they play their favourite songs.

“My friend suggested this after seeing it on Instagram, and my friend loves singing,” said Calgary Transit rider Ella Falco. “It’s a lot of fun so far.”

Some even came by because it was another place to sing karaoke, instead of the typical bar and club venues.

“My cousin and I are all about karaoke, so I was like ‘Let’s go’,” said Jessica Maryka, who sang Fancy by Reba McEntire.

“I mean, you [sing] in karaoke bars and stuff like that, but it’s totally different when you sing on a bus where it’s a little bit more intimate.”

According to Calgary Transit, after the launch, and throughout the summer, the Karaoke Bus will go on tour to entertain random bus routes throughout the city and at select events.

When asked about the experience for those that are unsure, Maryka said, “I think they should stop by and check it out.”

“Even if you’re nervous, just let that all go and just do it.”

Jessica Maryka sings Fancy by Reba McEntire inside the Calgary Transit Karaoke Bus at the Brentwood Train Station in Calgary on Wednesday, July 6, 2022. Maryka is an avid karaoke singer, and looks forward to seeing the bus appear throughout Calgary. The City of Calgary started the Karaoke Bus to encourage people to use Calgary Transit, but to also let them know it can be a fun experience. (Alejandro Melgar/The Emery Weal).

Alejandro Melgar

Alejandro Melgar graduated from the SAIT online-print journalism stream. He is the current club president of The Emery Weal, and he is a contributor. You can find his work on LiveWire Calgary and on his website at www.alejandromelgar.ca

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