LETTER: Service the reason for transit woes

I read with interest the story of the “conundrum” that the future of Saanich transit is a system designed for students being shunned by seniors. The issue should not be a surprise to VRTC chairperson Susan Brice.

The reason post-secondary students use the transit system so disproportionately to their demographic is that the system is essentially free to them because transit charges are automatically and unavoidably added to their student union fees. Public school students are likely significantly funded by parents or others and they too therefore have free access.

Seniors on the other hand had their discount tickets cancelled and now must purchase a monthly pass or standard fare tickets. The problem with the monthly pass is that whether you use it for 10 trips or 50, it is void at the end of the month. The $45 monthly pass only becomes more economical than other fares after 20 trips. I suggest that many seniors do not find that they will take the bus 20 times a month.

Being a senior myself, I find that transit is the least efficient method of travel to many of my destinations. Even though I live close to one of the most frequent bus routes, I can walk to three shopping centres in less than 30 minutes, but the bus will take a change of buses and at least an hour in transit. I can ride my bicycle or indeed drive my car to the same shopping centres in less time than the walk and average wait for my first bus.

I suggest that the bigger question is the whole issue of transit planning, funding and fares; as it is, it is a system that bends over backwards to serve a highly subsidized passenger cohort and fails to provide an economical service to the population cohort that the chairperson feels needs to use the system. BC Transit enjoys a heavily subsidized funding model with little accountability to bring reasonable effective service for much of the population of the region.

While they will quote the statistics of the number of passenger trips they provide, sadly, I suspect that the majority of citizens of the region do not set foot on a bus from one month to the next.

Mark Brown

Saanich

Just Posted

Octogenerian to start New Year with 60-day flight around South America

Cordova Bay’s Bob Vance helped raise $425,000 for Hope Air

Esquimalt’s Pyjama Prance tours Township on a frosty morning

Third annual event sees largest turnout yet, raises $1,738 for The Rainbow Kitchen

Omnibus Victoria Zoning Bylaw raises alarms

Neighbourhood associations, councilors express concern over streamlined development process

VIDEO: Carlton House knitters send warmth to Our Place

Residents of Carlton House have been working all year in preparation for the holidays

Big OT win in Prince George for Victoria Royals

Western Hockey League clubs do battle again in Cariboo on Tuesday

Site C decision coming Monday

Premier John Horgan to announce fate of dam project at B.C. legislature

Saanich Braves pee wee team headed to Ottawa’s hockey on the hill

A Saanich Braves pee wee team are taking their “show on the… Continue reading

Students lose eligibility over school transfer

Academics, catchment have priority over high school sports

Smartphone pedometers underestimate steps, but valuable health tool: study

UBC researchers found the iPhone underestimated steps by 21.5 per cent

Saanich real estate sales top $65 million in November

New figures show the price for an average single family home in… Continue reading

VIDEO: ‘Last Jedi’ premiere kicks off with droids, Daisy Ridley

Latests Star Wars film premiered in style ahead of Dec. 15 theatre debut

Most Read