Friday, March 28, 2008

Old Blogger, Old Bus and the Same Old Story - Part One

Off to City Hall this week to speak to the issue of public transit.

The City of Burlington has initiated a cost containment exercise. And while, like motherhood and apple pie, we all want costs contained, we also want to maintain a decent transit system.

Some would argue we don’t have a decent system in this community now. Some transit users get frustrated, give up on the buses and buy cars. I heard of four who had just this week.

Sadly, many in the community don’t support public transit. Sometimes these people get elected. But I digress.

The presentation Doug Brown and I prepared is available should you be interested. (e-mail me at

The essence of the presentation was that it is important for our environment and important to the quality of life in our town that we have good transit.

We’d like the cost containment exercise to keep that in mind.

New Street # 10 Bus

A surprising amount of the discussion at Committee focused on the 23 year old bus I rode to City Hall.

Does this seem old to you? Twenty years ago all municipal buses were pulled from service after 18 years. That has changed ("financial constraints") - and Burlington has been buying and repairing old buses.

Of the City’s 52 buses twenty (38%) are between 22 – 25 years old. Some Councillors seemed surprised at this revelation - surprising in itself as they approve the purchases and there are always lengthy discussions around the council table before purchases are made.

Be Ye Thankful

One Councillor noted that I should be "thankful” to be riding the 23 year old bus. He thought, I guess, that buses were better made then.

Yes, I am thankful because my health allows me to ride these old non-accessible buses. Many in our community can’t.

So here is the issue.

More people will use the system if it is accessible and provides quality service.

Does Council mow the parks with lawnmowers that are twenty three years old? Can you imagine how exercised our hockey players would get if 23 year old zambonis broke down and the ice couldn’t be cleared?.

We’ll have more on this meeting tomorrow.