Cameron Wigmore, Green Party Member: Nanaimo Transit Better Service Now

June 20, 2008

Nanaimo Transit Better Service Now

I recently overheard a young man on the bus speaking with his friend about gas prices. "Well," he said, "I'm taking the bus because it's gotten to the point that I have to choose between feeding my kids or my truck."
When we consider this reality, we must ask why our city isn't hurrying to invest in our public transit services.

From the citizens point of view, there needs to be a viable alternative to driving our own cars. Currently the bus service is too sparse to properly serve the people of Nanaimo. If our city invests more in this green form of transportation, we will see increased ridership, less congestion on the roads and less pollution. By avoiding the costs of running our own vehicle we can choose how to spend the money saved instead of feeling like a slave to our gas tanks.

Upon reviewing the 2008 Nanaimo transit plan I noticed that while the plan seems appropriate, the timeline for implementing service improvements is far too drawn out. On the RDN transit web page it states that "The projected addition of more than 90,000 annual service hours would result in nearly doubling the conventional transit service level in the Nanaimo region over the next decade." Ten years is a long time for us to have to wait for reasonable service so that we can realistically consider commuting to and from work on the bus instead of by car.

It is shown that the net cost for the RDN to implement all short term options (2009-'10) would be $692,000. These improvements include ten new busses offering an additional 24,500 hrs of service. While this is a good start, I think it can be implemented faster.

Where I really want to see faster implementation of the decade long plan is in the medium range service options. Proposed to be implemented by 2018, these increases include 24 vehicles running for an additional 65,900 hrs, at a net cost for the RDN of $1,609,000. When I consider how much our city council went over budget on the PNC, I have to wonder why our city isn't investing in our transit system right away, rather than over the next decade.

I ride the bus. I have asked a lot of people what they'd like from our transit system, and they always remark that more frequent service on existing routes is needed immediately. This transit plan will offer that, but over the next ten years. That's too long to wait. As a member of your city council, I would be a strong advocate for better service now from our public transit. Our transit system isn't up to par with the rest of BC. I will help get it there, and I'll work to make it an excellent example of how a city can really make it's transit system work for its citizens.

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