Time to chart a progressive course on TransLink
Like many people in the Metro Vancouver region, I often take transit to get to my important destinations. These days, that has mostly meant going to and from school. It's about an hour long commute each way, and I'm normally able to time it so that I can get to my classes on time and not have to panic too much on the trip.
That assumes the buses actually show up when they're scheduled to show up. In recent months, that's been a dangerous assumption to make, especially along routes that serve the two major universities in the region. It would be one thing if the buses were simply late and we all carried on; things happen on the trip and buses can't always move as quickly as they're expected to move. We're now already at the stage where buses simply aren't showing up that should be showing up, and the potential for passups is increasing exponentially because of buses that are simply disappearing.
All of this is happening before the TransLink budget cuts come into effect. For those not in the know, the Mayor's Council voted to rescind the tax increase they promised TransLink, which would have allowed the transit system to maintain levels of service and even expand service in some less well served areas of the Metro region. Instead, thanks to the Mayors' decision to rescind the tax increase prior to its implementation, TransLink will once again have to scramble to find the funding needed just to keep the service we have from deteriorating.
It is surprising that this is a concern at all, given the branding that many of the cities that make up the Metro area have chosen for themselves. From Burnaby touting its environmental awards to Vancouver promising to be the world's greenest city, this is a region that prides itself on environmental action and activism. Why then are those same mayors actively opposing the expansion of a system that will cut down our dependence on fossil fuels and reduce our regional emissions?
It's on the record that Mayor Derek Corrigan in particular was opposed to the initial decision to fund TransLink with a property tax increase, and was vocal in attempting to defeat it prior to its original inception. One could have appreciated that as campaign rhetoric during the election season, but the election has come and gone, why is there still opposition to such a valuable progressive policy concept? Mayor Corrigan is a New Democrat, and for a time was touted as a possible leadership candidate for the BC NDP. The opportunity is now before him to chart a progressive, NDP course at TransLink and help fund the maintenance and expansion that the public transportation system needs in order to become competitive with private automobiles.
As for me, it doesn't matter if I'm a few minutes late; class will continue on and life won't suddenly end if I'm personally not there at start of class. Other people, however, rely on public transportation as their main form of trasportation to get to their jobs, to run their family errands and to enjoy their social lives. They pay into the service through taxes and ever-increasing fares.
They deserve to at least get a system that's reliable and shows up on time.