The need for public transit

Owning and operating a motor vehicle is expensive.

Owning and operating a motor vehicle is expensive.

As someone who just purchased my first vehicle earlier this month, I’m learning first-hand just how expensive it is to keep my truck on the road.

From the car payments, to insurance, to gas and maintenance, keeping my truck on the road takes a good sized chunk of change.

This is a luxury not all can afford.

Before I moved up Burns Lake to work, I didn’t own a vehicle. This meant on the days that I wasn’t lucky enough to use my mom’s car to get around, I was taking public transit.

Public transit is a relatively cheap and affordable way for people, who aren’t lucky enough to own a vehicle, to get to work, or run errands or just get around in their day-to-day lives.

While, the service may not be perfect, buses and sky trains  run late, have maintenance problems or have long lines and delays, the service for the most part runs fairly well.

In northern B.C., there are a number of communities, such as, Smithers, Terrace and Prince George, that have the option of taking public transit.

In Prince George, a single fare for an adult costs $2.50, a sheet of 10 fares costs $22.50 and monthly pass costs $57.50.

In Smithers, a single fare for an adult costs $2.25, a sheet of 10 fares costs $20 and a monthly pass costs $50.

Finally in Terrace, a single fare for an adult costs $2, a sheet of 10 fares costs $18 and a monthly pass costs $44.

The cost of taking public transit in these northern B.C. communities is quite affordable.

So, why not have public transit in Burns Lake and other smaller, remote northern B.C. communities?

This past week two members of the B.C. NDP, Jennifer Rice, MLA for the North Coast and Maurine Karagianis, NDP critic for women’s issues, took a two day tour across Hwy. 16 to highlight the need for a shuttle bus along the highway, known as the Highway of Tears.

One of the issues these two brought forward was that many first nations communities are situated in remote locations with no access to safe public transportation services, such as, Greyhound services, to take them into town so they can do things necessary for day-to-day living, such as grocery shopping.

So why not introduce a public transit system that would take members of these communities, and other communities in northern B.C., like Burns Lake who don’t have public transit system, that cannot afford a vehicle, and take them into town to go grocery shopping, or visit a doctor, or see a social worker.

These buses wouldn’t have to run seven days a week.

Rather, these buses could run once or twice a week at a low cost.

A day pass in Prince George costs an adult $6.25.

Why not have a system that runs once or twice and week and costs the rider $5 for the day to ride?

It would allow people to complete errands needed to maintain a standard of living.

It would give these people some sense that their needs are being heard by their elected officials.

And it would give people, especially remote communities, who can’t afford to own a vehicle, a safe and affordable transportation option.