Canada’s transportation system is miles behind

Cities are opting for cost effective transit over environmental sustainability

Public transit is a more sustainable alternative to driving.
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Cities across the country continue to make a negative environmental impact with their decisions about public transit. The government continues to fund highways and promote travel by car, rather than investing in a greener future by funding zero-emission public transit. As commuters, we must demand better.

Public transit has been in use for years but has consistently received low funding. Roads are built to accommodate cars and often neglect to include proficient bus routes or other means of alternative transportation, like cycling. This attitude toward transportation creates large amounts of pollution and doesn’t account for sustainable living. 

A 2017 report on sustainable transportation showed Canadian cities were falling short in global rankings for overall sustainability of their urban transit systems. While cities in Europe and the rest of the world embrace public transit to decrease their reliance on cars—less than one fifth of people in Hong Kong own a car—Canada has remained rigid and non-innovative in its approach to suitable transportation.

In 2015, Todd Litman, director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, told CBC that federal and provincial funding for public transit in Canada is severely lacking and is often under-planned. Policies have failed to include the demand for alternative transportation and have focused solely on cars. 

Little has changed in the last five years. Canada’s public transit is poorly connected and has a lack of travel routes, making travel by car much faster. Additionally, a lack of quality public transit options outside the country’s most urban areas leaves many Canadians stranded with no other options. 

The government is currently working on a 10-year plan to increase the accessibility and sustainability of public transportation. Starting in 2017, the government has included $1 billion in its funding plan for a better transportation system. 

But even with this progress, there's still work to be done. The environment has always taken a back seat to economic profit, and it’s time we prioritize a sustainable future. 

It's crucial that as members of the public, we start advocating for a better public transit system. It’s one of the easiest ways that we can begin to cut down on pollution within cities. Start making it a habit to take the bus rather than a car, talk to local politicians about the issue, sign petitions, and when elections come up, make sure to read each party’s environmental platforms and take action with your vote. 

We’re in the midst of a climate crisis—the least we can do is take the bus.

 

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