Will keep pushing for better transit and lower fares to reduce social isolation and pollution
The Metro Vancouver Alliance is vowing to keep up their campaigning for better transit and lower fares after the No vote in the Metro Vancouver transit referendum.
“We are disappointed but not discouraged with the No vote,” says Metro Vancouver Alliance spokesperson Bruce Murray. “Better transit has very strong support, and we will keep working to get the transit system the people of Metro Vancouver need.”
The Metro Vancouver Alliance is a broad based alliance of over 50 community, labour, faith and education groups united to work for the common good.
The BC government’s “B.C. on the Move” survey released in early 2015 reports 92% support for improved public transit among residents of the lower mainland. In contrast, increasing highway capacity and LNG development only received 57% and 38% support respectively.
“People overwhelmingly want better transit, but the appointed TransLink board the provincial government imposed does not have the public’s confidence,” says Maria Robinson, Metro Vancouver Alliance spokesperson. “At our neighbourhood transit forums we heard how inadequate HandyDART service is like house arrest for people with disabilities and older seniors. The number of people over 70 is expected to increase by 40% in the next decade and we are not going to forget about HandyDART riders or give up the fight for better transit.”
Lower and middle income people are being pushed increasingly into less transit-accessible areas of our region in order to find less expensive housing. At Metro Vancouver Alliance's neighborhood transit referendum forums, participants emphasized how living without a car in these areas is a real challenge. But owning and buying gas for even one car is a severe financial burden for many families, and unexpected repair bills can be enough to trigger a slide into homelessness.
“Reducing the amount of fossil fuel burned in our cars is essential for dealing with the climate crisis,” says Robinson. “The Metro Vancouver Alliance will step up our work for a better transit system with lower fares. Better transit is essential, not optional.”
The Metro Vancouver Alliance is already planning a structured campaign of listening, research, alliance building and leadership development to create strong local ‘RouteSpeak’ groups that will have real impact on transit funding, governance, policy and operations.