“Surviving” public transportation

Ugh, yet another article on “Surviving Public Transportation“, as if it is something to be endured. One of the books they mention is My Kind of Public Transportation, which Jarrett over at Human Transit elegantly rips apart in his post about the Disneyland Theory of Transit.

However, given we are about to cut a few thousand hours from buses run here in Victoria, the federal NDP’s public transportation strategy cannot come soon enough. Now if only the newspaper could get the story right about BC Transit. The issue isn’t so much that the number of riders fell, it is that this is the first year in a decade that ridership hasn’t risen. That little fact, despite being easily seen in any slide-show from BC Transit, isn’t mentioned in either editorial or the main article about bus lanes.

Also, we are not the only region that got a higher than expected bill for buses. At least one Nelson councillor is publicly ruminating about “sending the buses back to the province” and “what about a Nelson-run transit system?” Lovely ideas, but they fail to realize two key points:

  1. BC Transit has a fairly good (by North American standards) deal with regards to sharing of operating costs on an even basis with the province and local authority. Pity the poor systems in Alberta, which much go cap in hand system-by-system, or the TTC, which gets no help from Ontario.
  2. BC Transit offers local communities centralized planning and purchasing, one of the reasons why BC has some of the best rural and small community transit in North America.

Lastly, the group that killed the last round of transit improvements on Douglas St, the Association of Douglas Street Businesses, is out to do it again, claiming we need to “rethink rapid transit.” Actually, they don’t want any rapid transit. Their spokesman, Bev Highton, said this:

Bev Highton commented that he felt that the committee did not include representation of people who use the roads every day, and there should be discussion on whether there is actually a need for Rapid Transit. He also had concerns about the guiding principles of securing a dedicated right of way.

(from the [download id=”7″ format=”1″] – CLC mandate and other minutes can be seen here). Take anything this group says with a giant grain of salt.

So in sum: The sky is not falling, buses are not horrible, the world will not end if we get a bus-only lane somewhere in the city, and the universe will not end if we get light rail.

2 thoughts on ““Surviving” public transportation”

  1. The facts are ridership is dropping as a percentage of population, there is a reason BC Transit does not disclose this figure.

Comments are closed.