Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Public transit is Worth It

According to the STM, a return trip using public transit once a week for a year is equivalent to the benefits provided by 52 trees and recycling for three weeks. These are just more examples supporting the environmentally-friendly public transit. There should be more funding for public transit. Public transit should get priority on the road. That means less space for cars, more space for buses, trams, trolley buses etc. Funds should make public transit less expensive and faster than cars. Federal, provincial and municipal governments need to do more to support public transit. It is the way of the future.


  1. Transit systems often use dubious math when making these calculations. Instead of using actual passengers they use seating capacity. So if a bus can hold 32 people they say it can replace 8 cars. But when the bus only has 9 people on it this may be a problem, because buses consume A LOT of fuel. During rush hour in Montreal people often can't get on a bus because it is full and have to wait for the next one. But on some routes, and in many other communities, the size of Sherbrooke for example, buses rarely run full; and in those cases the transit systems are actually worse for the environment.

  2. I think Anon misses the point. You build a transit system "out" from the areas which need it the most. As the density of transit increases in places like downtown Vancouver, Vancouver city, etc., you add commuter lines to places which need it - like suburbs, where people are sick of the 2-3hr commute into town. You then fan out from there, adding key routes based on usage/traffic patterns. No-one is suggesting building out a complete system and letting it sit empty (not that it would, if it actually efficiently got from A to B).

    It's probably wrong to compare the smaller cities - which need different mass transit solutions. If it only takes you 15min to cross an entire city by car, you won't be tempted to wait 10min for a bus. What you might try in smaller centers are things like "car-free zones" in the core areas - with only buses/shuttles allowed inside. You then expand ridership out of that central hub.

  3. I understand, Western Grit, but our federal and provincial governments are subsidizing exactly these type of transit systems ... then add in the municipal subsidies. I dare say that if you examined government subsidies toward transit systems in Canada you would find they are not at all effective at reducing pollution. Even communities the size of London or Ottawa have more than half empty buses driving around most of the day.


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