Extended transit should benefit all

More transit makes more sense, particularly for those not fortunate enough to drive a vehicle

I am writing in response to an article by Richard Rolke, “Evening Transit Moving Ahead in Vernon,” Jan. 6. Upon reading this article, I had a few thoughts immediately come to mind:

1. Yay! It’s about time we had transit later than 6 or 6:30 p.m.

2. What makes the workers at Vernon Jubilee Hospital so special? What about all of the other workers who do not drive and must find their own way to and from work where there is no transit available?

3. No evening buses to Okanagan College prevents many people from accessing evening classes (especially Continuing Ed classes only offered at night), rendering that facility somewhat less then 100 per cent available to all the of community. Isn’t availability part of the college’s mandate?

4. Re: “I don’t think people are taking the bus to restaurants.” How can you take a bus to a restaurant when there isn’t one available to be taken? And, “There is free parking downtown on Saturdays so people are driving.” May I remind the powers-that-be that not everyone has the luxury of owning/operating a vehicle and these people still need to work, eat, shop and socialize.

5. Re: Mr. Spiers comments regarding more details and a trial period. I agree. A trial period is a good idea because, in this case, I am of the opinion, “build it and they will come.” As the community realizes that it can go to the mall or go uptown to restaurants, shops and pubs, or perhaps out to the college, you will see a rise in ridership. Isn’t this additional activity good for our local economy?

6. May I say it’s long overdue to have transit service available on Canada Day and Remembrance Day. I repeat myself, not everyone in our community has the luxury of owning and operating a vehicle. People who cannot afford to drive or cannot drive (e.g. medical reasons), or perhaps single parents without vehicles, may now attend these functions whereas prior they were unable to do so because of lack of transportation. I could go on about the “haves” and the “have nots,” however, that is for another letter.

What struck me most of all about this article is that at no point did anyone address this issue: not everyone in our community has the means to own and operate a vehicle. Vehicles are costly to run with gas and repairs, never mind insurance. Many other people in our community are struggling.

Having a transit system with longer operating hours would open doors  for many people to obtain employment, shop and socialize, thus improving the quality and standard of living in our community. To the powers-that-be, please look beyond your comfortable and convenient lifestyles to see how extended transit would be a benefit to our town.

 

Wendy Chambers, Vernon