Letters to the Editor 

Is regional transit plan the answer?

(This letter was forwarded to the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District chair and directors. A copy was sent to Pique for publication.)

Please allow me to re-introduce myself. Since April 2009 I have used Sea to Sky Transit (#98 Squamish Commuter) as the primary means of transportation from my home in Squamish to work in Whistler. When necessary, I have used the Greyhound, although I have yet to finish my second set of 20 Flex Pass Travel Coupons. When other plans dictate, I drive my car. When weather permits, at the end of my week, I bring my bicycle to work on the bus and ride the 63 km home after work. On some of these trips I have explored the Sea to Sky Trail between Whistler and Squamish.
In the past I have lived in Halifax, Calgary, Winnipeg and Vancouver and used Transit as my primary transportation. I have criss-crossed Canada many times by train and hitch hiking. I've used Transit in most provinces including; buses, trolleys, subways, LRT, passenger and vehicle ferries and the elevated train system in Chicago. When visiting Vancouver, I often take the bus or park on the outskirts and buy a Day Pass to use all of TransLink's services. I've used King's Transit, in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley to travel to work and to Acadia University. I'm highly in favour of public transit.
In 2009 and early 2010 I wrote three letters to local papers about transit and transportation in the Sea to Sky Corridor. When the future of the Squamish Commuter became uncertain I wrote many more. I have searched the online archives of Municipal, District, Provincial and Federal websites. I've combed the files of Transport Canada, the Canadian Urban Transit Association, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Transportation Associations of Canada, the American Public Transportation Association and many others. Automatic Google Alerts e-mail me about any new postings on a variety of subjects. I'm by no means an expert but, I've done some homework and given this some thought.

The SLRD has several reports and studies on regional transit, going back at least two decades. It is an idea whose time has come. Regional transit in the SLRD can begin by saving the Squamish Commuter, combining it with the Pemberton Commuter and operating them as a regional transit system. It could probably grow in stages as current Annual Operating Agreements expire. It might eventually operate transit within Squamish and Pemberton, Mount Currie.

In a September 21, 2010 Report to Council, RMOW staff said: "There are two elements which the local transit partner can directly influence to achieve reduced costs. Reduce transit service levels or increase transit fares." I would like to examine two other options. Reduce excessive costs and increase transit use.


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