SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN -- (Marketwired) -- 06/13/13 -- On June 13, 2013, Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) leaders from across Canada are holding a public rally in Saskatoon to advocate for a national transit strategy. Specifically, ATU leaders are looking for sustainable long term funding for public transit at a Federal level.
Canada is the only G8 country that does not have a national transit strategy.
In March 2013, NDP Transportation Critic Olivia Chow introduced Private Members Bill C-615, An Act to establish a National Public Transit Strategy. If adopted, the Bill would provide for a national public transit strategy to coordinate funding at all levels and provide for long term funding for transit infrastructure.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Canadian Urban Transit Association, the Big City Mayor's Caucus, the Urban Transportation Task Force, transit authorities from coast to coast to coast and ATU Canadian Council have all urged the federal government to adopt a national transit strategy.
Public transit is essential to a healthy society. A national transit strategy is a progressive social policy that is long overdue in Canada.
In recent years, riders in rural communities here in Saskatchewan and across Canada have been cut off from their neighbours due to the lack of a national strategy. Cities large and small struggle to fund transit infrastructure due to the unpredictable funding and riders find that their services are cut off unexpectedly as a result.
Public transit is not a luxury.
It is well known that the lack of adequate funding hurts students, low income earners and passengers with special needs the most. Many of these riders spend hours a day on the bus, because they do not have any other transportation options.
It is not as well known that the lack of a transit strategy is the cause of the traffic congestion we all endure today. In cities such as Brampton, Mississauga and Halifax where the average commute is 82 minutes, congestion costs the economy 6 billion dollars a year. The economic loss resulting from a lack of a transit strategy across Canada is billions more.
A comprehensive national public transit strategy could address and meet the needs of urban and rural riders, students, and riders with disabilities. Such a strategy would enhance the safety of transit employees and the travelling public, stimulate the economy and improve the quality of life for all Canadians.
Mike Mahar, Director, Amalgamated Transit Union Canadian Council
For more information or to schedule an interview with
Mike Mahar, please contact his office at
416-679-8846 or directly at 416-476-8350
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