There was something disheartening about B.C. Transit’s return to Sooke last week.
The professionally prepared poster boards were on proud display, and B.C. Transit representatives were on hand to assure everyone that the folks who run the bus service were on the case. Final plans for improvements to transit were just around the corner.
Of course, we’ve heard it all before.
In 2013, Sooke council sent a letter to the Victoria Regional Transit Commission calling for better service in Sooke.
Two years later some modest changes were made.
There were more calls for action in 2016 and in 2018 when B.C. Transit finally announced public sessions and surveys to find out what transit users actually wanted.
It seemed they didn’t know.
More than a year later and they’ve come back, seeking even more input from the public.
Meanwhile after years of dithering, it’s still taking some riders more than two hours to get into work in Victoria and another two to get home to Sooke. At times there is no service.
Of course, we all know what’s needed – more frequent service over longer hours and more effective links to regional transportation routes.
We could have told them that four years ago and forgone the surveys, public forums, and fancy poster boards.
But that wouldn’t have served to sufficiently obscure the real problem.
B.C. Transit tells us that it’s a “matter of juggling priorities and resource allocations” which, in case you don’t speak “bureaucratese,” means that they know what’s needed but don’t know how to pay for it. It’s why they estimate a three to seven-year implementation timeline after they finally come up with a plan.
Here a thought.
A long-standing argument for public transportation says that by getting more people on buses fewer cars will clog our roadways. That’s better for the environment. Period.
Yet at the same time as we’re delaying transit improvements, taxpayers are shelling out about $100 million on the McKenzie interchange and another $87 million to improve Highway 14, all to make it easier for private cars.
It’s time to point out the hypocrisy of the situation and call on government to seriously resource transit services.
And it’s time for the people of Sooke to tell B.C. Transit, enough.
No more surveys and poster boards.
Either get serious about making the system better, or leave us alone.
Sometimes you have to get angry to get things done.