A new report confirms that living in a rural Yukon community without a car is difficult and gives options for the government to improve the situation.
“This project affirmed that many Yukoners — especially rural Yukoners — face transportation challenges that limit access to important services and goods, and to economic, social, cultural and recreation activities that impact their health and well-being,” said Albert Drapeau, executive director for the Yukon First Nation Chamber of Commerce, in a statement.
“Through our survey and through conversations with individuals and organizations from across the territory, this project helped us to better understand these unique challenges – and also the common threads that connect them,” he said.
Those common challenges to getting around the territory included the cost of travel, lack of dependable options for those without vehicles, concerns about safety, difficulties transporting goods and lack of phones or internet on the road.
Even once individuals arrive in Whitehorse – the most frequent destination – they may have trouble getting around town.
The report issued two broad recommendations for improving transportation links between communities, focused on collaboration: identifying a champion to pursue regionally-based pilot projects and breaking down silos in government.
The report also includes three potential options for better transportation, including a scheduled shuttle service such as a bus system, an on-demand ride-booking service or an intercommunity ride-sharing app.
Consultant Stephen Roddick, who worked on the report, noted that with so much diversity within the territory, there won’t be an easy solution.
“What’s going to work for folks along North Klondike between Dawson down to Whitehorse, along that stretch road, may not work for folks trying to get from Beaver Creek to Whitehorse,” he said.
“There has to be a community or regionally driven solution that is usually brought together by multiple people, multiple organizations, governments, businesses working together,” he said.
Over 700 individuals participated in online surveys to inform the report, along with non-profits and other community organizations.
Both seniors and low-income residents had the most difficulty with accessing transportation. Youth were less likely to have a drivers license, and women also expressed higher safety concerns.
The report also notes that different communities have different levels of services, and therefore, a greater or lower need to frequently travel out of town.
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