You can read about the Bus Network Redesign and what it means for Ward Métis in my previous post. Here, I explain what I will focus on and advocate for, if elected as your next Councillor.
With the changes from the Bus Network Redesign coming into effect on April 25, 2021, my focus as a councillor would be on auditing the rollout of this new system.
Like I said in the previous post, there are benefits to this new approach. Higher frequency major bus routes make transit a more feasible choice for trips. and on-demand service has been shown to work in other jurisdictions.
Now it's time to closely monitor and adjust our approach depending on performance. I look forward to helping find solutions to challenges that may accompany the bus network redesign rollout. I'll be paying close attention to metrics and listening to the experiences of transit users.
Building off of the Bus Network Redesign, there are also some big picture items we need to think about related to the future of transit in Edmonton - like the way it's funded, how it's connected to climate change, and how it's integral to our prosperity.
Funding Public Transit
Over the past several years, Edmonton has consistently dedicated less funding to transit than proposed.
Although funding ends up being marginally less than what was originally proposed, this shows that transit is consistently promised one number and provided a lower number. Operating under a constant state of stress does not result in a successful system. We need to properly fund our transit system if it is going to succeed.
Earlier this year, the federal government announced permanent federal funding for transit. Long-term, predictable funding will massively increase our ability to deliver safe, convenient, and reliable transit.
There are billions of federal dollars on the table for municipalities and we'll need leadership in City Hall to ensure that Edmonton gets its fair share. Now is the time to pursue national investment in transit.
To complement the groundwork that has been laid through the Bus Network Redesign and the federal funding that is coming down the line, a motion was brought forward and passed unanimously by Council on Monday, April 19th that will help ensure the City creates a sustainable, predictable funding model for Transit. This is work that I look forward to supporting, if elected.
Transit and Climate Change Are Linked
Transportation makes up a significant portion of our local emissions. It follows that Edmonton's Energy Transition Strategy targets transportation as one of four main pathways towards a low-carbon future.
I consistently hear from residents in Ward Métis that they would like to take transit, live more sustainably, and be less reliant on personal automobiles, but that our transit system must function as a viable alternative.
Making it easy and desirable for Edmontonians to choose public transit should be a top priority for fighting climate change and realizing the goals of the Energy Transition Strategy and City Plan.
Good Transit Fights Inequality & Builds Our Economy
Inconvenient and unaffordable transit weakens the economy and perpetuates inequality. It costs people their jobs. It forces people to buy cars. It means that you may not make it to a job interview on time, or you may spend 2 more hours apart from your family every day.
An inefficient transit system means that you may buy more expensive food at a convenience store, rather than more affordable food at a grocery store. A good transit system is key to the health of our city and economy.
We can also help ensure we're building an equitable city and mobility system through programs and policies that reduce financial barriers and increase ridership - programs like “Ride Transit”, and policies such as reversing recent fare increases, and increasing municipal funding for transit. Additionally, taking steps to ensure everyone feels safe using our transit system is foundational to an inclusive system that works for all Edmontonians.
Public Transit is an Essential Service & Fundamental for Success
Transit is central to my “focus on the fundamentals” approach.
Edmontonians deserve transportation freedom, which means that we have choice over how we get around, be it by foot, bike, transit, or personal vehicles. I will work hard to ensure that we adequately fund transit to make it a reliable, attractive, and affordable option.
Written by: Ashley Salvador & Stephen Raitz