LETTER: Transit users taken for a ride

Dear BC Transit: There is not enough being done to make busing a reliable or convenient source of transportation. It has gotten to the point where using transit to get to work is a risk that doesn’t mitigate with premature departures or planning.

My empirical observation comes from multiple months of traveling back and forth from the airport for work experience and classes. In order to get to my destinations around the airport, I must take three buses in order to get there. One to Broadmead (39), a second one on its way to Sidney (70,72,83) and finally a third one (88, airport) from the McTavish exchange on the side of the Pat Bay Highway.

Since the 88 does not frequent the McTavish exchange very often, I usually find myself relying on my bicycle to reach the airport. It is also very common to see travellers dragging their suitcases along the side of the road, faring the 1.8-km trek to the airport. I find it ironic that while there are direct double-decker buses to the ferry every hour, there are no express shuttles or buses that bring commuters to the airport.

Every other modernized city in Canada has such a system in place, so why doesn’t Victoria? Is it the taxi lobbyists that control the travel of arriving foot passengers? Whatever the case, it is shameful that our city does not even have the basic foundation for a sophisticated transit system.

From my house it takes an hour and 20 minutes to get up there, and two hours to get back. In a car it takes 25 minutes. Furthermore, the fact that I am dropped off so conveniently on the side of the highway forces me to rely on my bicycle to reach the airport by 9 a.m., which raises another issue: Nine times out of 10, the racks on the buses departing Broadmead are already full, leaving me and like-minded commuters to wait for the next bus, which often has the same problem.

It is quite naive to believe that a double-decker bus full of people ferry-bound will have less than two cyclists, which is the maximum amount the bus can accommodate on its racks.

Either put more racks on the bus or bring the bus within walking distance of the major location us travellers are seeking. As a high school student, how can I try to be “green” and take public transit along with my bike if I can’t rely on it? All this has taught me so far is that in order to be at work on time, I must depend on a car: the opposite of what transit should be trying to achieve.

Evan Guildford

Saanich

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