Better regional oversight for transit would improve system

Province should be in charge of transit in fractured region

Re: Funding transit a conundrum (Our View, March 6)

Given the push on the West Shore to build out to maximum density – note Langford’s building on once-conserved land – what enhanced transit options will parallel this growth? None it seems.

Business as usual, which translates as sitting in traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway, amongst other issues.

Why don’t people use transit more? The slow progress during rush hour is one reason. Primitive bus shelters in some places is another. Another, if you live in Sooke or Sidney, is that the trip does not rate high on comfort.

Buses making equivalent trips from the east side of Seattle to downtown are designed for the longer journey: comfortable seats, overhead racks and limited stops using HOV lanes. The trip is quick and pleasant and very affordable, especially for seniors. Not so here.

In Portland there is a network of LRT, commuter and bus routes that allow for travel options. Portland’s system is not run by the State of Oregon. Its transportation authority, TriMet, is not overseen by politicians. People from the TriMet area with a varied array of skill and interest serve. It has the power to tax as need be.

As things stand, it makes sense that the province run transit here. After all, there are 13 municipalities involved and none are very large. However, were there to exist a unified metropolitan city of Victoria, however constituted, of some 350,000 people, transit would be planned and run by the metropolitan government in the context of planned urban development, as is the case in other cities this size.

The current setup may have worked in the last century; it will not work in this one.

John Olson


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