We can be proud of our bus service

We can be proud of our bus service Re Stuck in a Moment (editorial, the News February 27): People who attended the city council meeting regarding transit were hardly angry despite the way the meeting was characterized in the newspapers. We expressed ou

Re Stuck in a Moment (editorial, the News February 27):

People who attended the city council meeting regarding transit were hardly angry despite the way the meeting was characterized in the newspapers. We expressed our appreciation for the service and the drivers, described how we used the service and made constructive suggestions to improve the system.

Unlike many people who don’t use transit, bus people are seldom frustrated.

They know how to read a schedule, respect each other and understand that a bus system is not a limousine service. We find it somewhat ironic that those Whitehorse citizens who never use transit are the first to say, in a word, that it sucks.

The Whitehorse transit system is a public service we can be proud of. Those of us who use the system regularly recognize that a city the size of Whitehorse has created an extraordinary transit service that includes seven routes and modern buses that are safe, clean and well maintained.

Transit drivers are unfailingly professional in their work, taking care to ensure the safety and convenience of their passengers. In the six years we have consistently used the system it has never let us down. Kudos to Whitehorse city council for maintaining the system in spite of complaints from whiners and wankers unable to leave their cars at home because the bus system is inconvenient.

We find it amusing that Whitehorse residents with intellectual disabilities, foreign students and visitors, and children are able to read both a bus schedule and a watch, something that seems to be beyond the grasp of the Yukon News editor. We don’t think it is fair to blame the transit system for some people’s dyslexia.

It is the transit users, locals and visitors, who purchase tickets and passes and often pay cash, who subsidize the emergency use of drivers who can’t get their cars started on cold mornings. Hurray for us.

We think it is time for those intermittent users and complainers to pony up their share. If $70 a year from homeowners and businesses would maintain a free transit system, think what $120 a year or $10 a month could do to improve the system. Transit users subsidize the roads, parking lots, snow removal, traffic law enforcement and bylaw officers required to maintain the safety and convenience of drivers who would complain at shelling out $120 a year for free transit because they don’t use the bus.

The bus system benefits all citizens, including those who won’t use it.

Last Saturday morning, 15 people used the 8:20 Takhini route to go to work. That’s 15 vehicles not spewing toxic fumes or taking up huge chunks of ugly, asphalt parking lots. The transit system gets us to school, recreation and work.

We use it to keep appointments, to shop, to socialize. Whitehorse is more than a small town in the middle of a vast wilderness. It is a national and international transportation hub and the centre for northern distribution, education and government and it seems to us unthinkable that such an important capital city would not have a transit system.

A free transit system is an extraordinary idea. Destroying an established public transit system is hardly enlightened thinking, while establishing a user-free transit system on an infrastructure that already exists would make our city the most civilized in the country. Those citizens who cannot bring themselves to use transit, pay for transit, and would rather drive personal vehicles in this day and age are, in a word, dinosaurs. 

Of course no transit system, free or user subsidized, is going to replace personal vehicles. We do suggest, however, that Whitehorse citizens consider the convenience of a free system. Imagine not having to find and pay for parking, imagine being able to go home safely after socializing on Friday after work, imagine teaching your children the value of independent and safe city travel, imagine letting a professional drive while you read, daydream, talk to your neighbour or plan your workday.

It’s easy if you try.

Bernice Montgomery

Bill Polonsky