I’m not quite sure why government always feels the best solution to a problem is more government – a self-serving motive, perhaps? Further studies and consultants in the matter merely seem like an extra kick in the gut for already overburdened taxpayers.
The solution to the regional transit problem does not lie in yet another transit service being operated in this area, this time by the Region. A 4th major operator is not required at all. The simplest solution, if the three cities identified for the ‘triangle service’ want it, is to sit down amongst themselves and hammer out an agreement on route times and cost-sharing. Then put it in to practice.
Transit is a ‘build it and they will come’ kind of idea. If there’s no guarantee that the service will still be there in a year, I’m not very likely to ditch my car any time soon to take the bus. If the region really wanted to get involved, councillors could commit some of the money they would have spent building a brand-new branch of regional government towards helping to fund the increased costs involved in the agreements between St. Catharines, Niagara Falls and Welland. By providing some additional money, those three transit services could guarantee that the service will continue for more than 6 months – maybe a 3 or 5 year commitment – and you’d be able to see a true test of whether this transit service is desired by local residents.
As a side note, from someone who lives in west-end St. Catharines and works in Niagara Falls – I’m seriously considering switching to public transit now that GO is a reality. A little bit of extra time on my commute is worth it in the savings on wear-and-tear and gas for my car.
The bottom line in all of this, though, is simple – the region does not need to extend its tentacles any farther. We simply can’t afford it.