Saturday, January 23, 2010

A-bus-ive Transit

This is a letter to the editor I wrote for the Barrie Advance. (For some reason, it also ran in the Alliston Herald).

It was in response to this story in the Advance, which was also covered more briefly by a letter to the editor in the Examiner. My letter was printed alongside an editorial which essentially reinforced my points.


Kudos to The Advance for giving full-page coverage to the plight of mother Joelle Fournier, who experienced great frustrations simply trying to go shopping with her young children using Barrie Transit.

This isn’t the fault of drivers, but a lack of vision in our transit thinking. Public transit was mainly designed for commuters: to carry students to class, and workers to their jobs. It’s not as well suited for other functions.

If you need a bus Sunday, it may run only half as often, or not at all, because most people don’t work or study on Sunday. If you need to get home late at night after having a few too many at the bar, service may have ended for the day.

If you are travelling with young children in a stroller, you’re obviously not commuting, so transit isn’t designed for you. Ditto if you are shopping and want to get several bags of groceries home.

And heaven forbid you try to do both: go shopping with young children in tow.

Our bus system was not designed to replace the car, only commuting. Yet we use our cars for so many more things and those who don’t drive need transit for more reasons. We need a system that accommodates children, families, and seniors.

As a society, we must re-evaluate our entire thinking on public transit and find ways for it to replace more of the trips now requiring a car.

Erich Jacoby-Hawkins
Barrie Green Party

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