Public transit provides a critical service in our community
Not everyone has the financial freedom, capability, or desire to own a personal vehicle. With costs of vehicles skyrocketing, many citizens are looking for alternatives to get where they need to go. Transit is especially important for youth, students, seniors, women, new residents, and those living in poverty – all members of our community that we should be making an extra effort to support.
Transit cuts across issues
Transit helps to improve our economy, our health, and our environment. Transit provides an important avenue for citizens to make social connections, when they might otherwise be isolated and alone. Transit improves job access for workers, and availability of employees for businesses. Transit is essential for many students who rely on the system to get to class and run their daily errands. Many parents rely on transit to bring their children to daycare and recreation centers. Transit is especially important for the mobility of our aging community members as it provides options that allow seniors to remain in their homes for as long as possible. In the long run, transit plays an important part in building urban density and reduces pressures for sprawl developments.
Transit in Prince George is significant
Prince George Transit system provided 2 million rides in 2012/13. Compared to similar communities, Prince George has some of the highest ridership per hour, but the smallest amount of overall transit service. Service levels have increased by 40% between 1998/99 and 2012/13 while ridership has increased 263% over the same period. Contrary to popular belief, the Prince George transit system is cost-effective, with an average cost of $3.25 per ride, well below the provincial average of $4.26.
Small changes could make a big impact
In recent years, the introduction of the U-Pass to UNBC and CNC students has facilitated a significant increase in transit service to student populations, but service to our working population still lags behind. Most routes only run on an hourly basis, and meander through the city, often making ride times excruciatingly long. As a City Councillor, I will push forward the recommendations in the Transit Futures Plan to increase the service to families and working populations in the city. I believe that small, targeted investments in the systems could lead to a significant increase in ridership.