Editorial: Investing in public transportation infrastructure only makes sense

First, public transit is key to limiting our environmental footprint.

The Citizen has always been a supporter of getting the E&N rail line up and running again between Victoria and Courtenay, but it goes beyond that.

It’s about supporting public transportation as a whole, and trying to get people to see alternatives to everyone riding around in their own cars, often in a 1:1 ratio — one person to one vehicle.

The advancement of public transportation is going to be vital to our communities going into the future for a number of reasons.

First, public transit is key to limiting our environmental footprint. Reports from scientists and respected worldwide institutions are dire about the future of our planet if we cannot curb greenhouse gas emissions and climate change continues to run out of control. The issue really cannot be overstated. And our modes of transportation are a lynchpin in saving ourselves.

The whole business of everyone in their own individual automobiles is a relatively new phenomenon and we need to rethink how we’ve evolved to this point.

Second, our population is aging, and our seniors, who will with any luck be able to stay in their homes for a long, long time, need to be able to get around without driving.

It’s a fact that most seniors will have to give up their drivers licences for safety reasons at a certain point. But with a proper public transportation system for them to access, that doesn’t mean they’re doomed to social isolation. It’s about maintaining independence, something everyone can agree is worth striving for.

We’ve talked before about the desirability of having a working train one can take to Nanaimo or Victoria. So here we’ll focus on buses.

The argument is always that there are too few riders to justify the service. We think those who say that haven’t ridden or even really looked at buses in Cowichan lately.

It was announced recently that the commuter bus to Victoria that began running a weekend schedule has been a big success, with ridership only expected to grow. It’s proof that while it may seem unnecessary to put the infrastructure in place initially, ridership will grow. It’s a worthwhile community asset.

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