A transit screed (the 2022 provincial election version)

This week’s Market Squared seems at extra imprecise transit guarantees from our provincial election candidates who will seemingly by no means use transit (like a lot of the remainder of Guelph)

I’m penning this piece popping out of Thursday’s provincial candidates’ city corridor hosted by the Guelph Coalition for Social Justice, and boy was there plenty of love for increasing public transit.

Of course, elections are the one time that public transit will get any love in any respect. The remainder of time, constructing a greater bus service that’s reasonably priced and efficient is an afterthought, and if the federal government does really discover themselves within the uncommon place of throwing us a bone with barely improved service, they’re stunned once we’re not grateful for the transit equal of desk scraps.

Isn’t it ludicrous that we’re in one other provincial election the place we’re nonetheless begging for two-way, all-day GO Train service? Isn’t it ridiculous that we’re within the first provincial election after Greyhound ended service in Canada, and all the foremost events have by way of actual regional transit choices are imprecise platitudes and this nebulous phrase, “Do more”?

And don’t “at” me in regards to the Liberal plan to cross $1 transit fares as a result of that assumes a) That the Liberals will win, b) That they’ll comply with although, and c) That a three-hour bus trip from Guelph to Toronto with a switch in both Brampton or Mississauga is successfully higher if it solely prices you a greenback to take it.

The fact is that this needs to be prime time for transit companies as a result of there’s a lot occurring to encourage individuals to get on a bus or a practice proper now. Consider that top gasoline costs have individuals in search of different choices, extra persons are getting again to work and play in-person, and schedules reduce on the top of COVID are actually being restored.

Frankly, you’d should be loopy to not be contemplating the bus for the gasoline costs alone. I keep in mind the summer season of 2009 when the value of gasoline was exorbitant and getting a seat on the Greyhound weekday mornings reached close to Hunger Games stage of hysteria. Understandable as a result of the one facilities the previous bus terminal needed to provide the place a damaged pinball machine and five-month-old copies of Echo.

That was simply 10 years in the past, however these are undoubtedly totally different instances as a result of not solely is the Greyhound gone, however so is, I concern, any need by most individuals in Guelph to hunt out transit as a viable various.

Why? Because it’s not viable.

In phrases of regional transit, the aforementioned Greyhound has been gone for an entire 12 months now, and whereas smaller carriers have dipped their toe into the sector as a substitute, all they will do is catch a cup filled with water from the move of the damaged dam.

Last month whereas speaking to the Breezy Breakfast Club, Mayor Cam Guthrie was requested in regards to the final time he took Guelph Transit and he stated it had been three years since he acquired on the bus. Interesting, however I’m interested in why transit is meant to be a each day choice for the remainder of us when the mayor hasn’t used it as soon as in three years.

And to not beat up too onerous on our mayor, but it surely was round this similar time he posted to social media that an e-bike is an effective funding since Guelph is barely about eight kilometres lengthy end-to-end. Fair sufficient, but when Guelph is that this compact little place, then why does it take an hour to 90 minutes to get from the north finish to the south finish on transit?

Next weekend is the Victoria Day vacation, and for the primary time Guelph Transit will likely be on-demand solely. The entire service. It’s an important transfer for a system that’s already powerful to navigate when it’s firing all cylinders, however nothing says, “We have faith in our transit system,” like turning it into one other Uber on holidays.

I perceive about price financial savings, however there’s an extra price to the complete religion and credit score individuals have in Guelph Transit by going all on-demand, particularly for the people who don’t have sensible telephones. Didn’t we do that dance when Transit pulled down each paper schedule from each cease a couple of years in the past?

So how about our provincial election candidates, are they taking the bus or the practice? Will they be utilizing transit as they push for extra entry, extra money, and extra frequency? Are they among the many individuals who will benefit from a extra sturdy transit universe in our area, or will they merely hop of their vehicles glad that we, the little individuals, would possibly spare them our complaints for a short while?

The similar goes to anybody and everybody studying this screed. We want individuals to take the bus to show it the viable and vital various to visitors and sprawl, and if the dependably inexperienced residents of Guelph aren’t keen to surrender their automotive sometimes, then why do we have now such nice expectations for the remainder of Ontario?

Otherwise, any transit cash would most likely be higher spent shopping for an e-bike for each transit consumer. It appears that we’ve already determined that it’s the true higher manner.

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