Election 2014: Students need seat on Greater Victoria transit commission: Atwell

Saanich mayoral candidate says students deserve official membership to VRTC as heavy users of Greater Victoria transit service

Saanich mayoral candidate Richard Atwell is promising to advocate for proper student representation on the Victoria Regional Transit Commission if elected.

“If elected Mayor, I will lobby the Province for direct student society representation on Victoria Regional Transit Commission so that U-PASS members can have a stronger voice”, Atwell said.

Students at the University of Victoria, Camosun College and Royal Roads University currently pay for unlimited bus access each semester through B.C. Transit’s U-Pass program. The VRTC – which determines route configurations, sets fares and approves transit capital spending – is made up of elected politicians from Saanich, Victoria, Esquimalt, Sidney and Colwood.

“Giving (students) direct influence over decision making,would be a positive step towards meaningful inclusion and student involvement in local government,” Atwell said.

Saanich Coun. and VRTC chair Susan Brice said concerns from students have resulted in increased bus hours to both UVic and Camosun, as well as new bus bays being installed at UVic.

“I take the valuable input from students very seriously and I’ve made it a point over the last three years to meet regularly with the students,” she said. “Students should be proud that though their strong lobbying, they’ve redirected very large sums of transit dollars.”

Appointing a student representative would require a change in provincial legislation.

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