An Open Letter to Council Re No Holiday Transit Service
I sent this letter today, I added the links to this post. If you want to copy this letter to send to council members, please feel free to do so. Here are the e-mail addresses, just copy and paste into the recipient line. It works well for me. email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
This is being sent to all council members as I want all of you to have access to the same information. I know some of you are aware of some of this so please don’t take anything personally.
I am contacting you about the fact that we have no bus service on holidays. This creates a Two Tier System in Medicine Hat between the Haves and the Have-Nots.
On Family Day, BMGC has a bunch of free activities but it excludes the portion of our population that cannot afford a vehicle. These are arguably the people who would benefit the most from free activities and they have no way to even get there. Even if people lived within walking distance, it's very cold and we got a ton of snow recently.
Our city’s growth has stagnated. Immigrants are an easy way to increase our population but they tend to settle in larger centres where there is a transit service that serves them. Many hardworking immigrants have no credit history in Canada and so cannot buy a car, they must rely on transit. Many tourists prefer to use the bus system when they visit a city.
The latest info from the Public Services Committee in tomorrow’s agenda packet shows that most people currently using the bus are trying to get to work. However, they cannot work on holidays or late on Saturday or Sunday. Most entry level jobs are not 9-5 M-F. This severely limits their ability to make money.
In case you didn’t know it, they get paid time and half to work on holidays on top of their paid holiday making it double time and a half. For someone making minimum wage that’s a LOT of money. $15/hr at double time and a half is $37.50/hr, an extra $180 for an 8 hour day. Many minimum wage earners don't get benefits. Some of you might see this as mere pocket change or one evening out. For others it means being able to buy shoes for their kids or paying ever increasing utility bills.
Transit has always been seen as a drain but it should really be seen as an investment. The problem is the people making the decisions on transit spending (council members) don’t even take the bus. At least one council member on the Public Services Committee (PSC) did not even know that they used coins or about the DoubleMap App (watch the public portion of the Feb 14 2022 PSC Meeting). I expected that in the 120 days since the election, council members would have taken the bus at least once. That is a serious omission when they are expected to make recommendations and decisions on transit spending.
(Here is the DoubleMap App. Very cool, it shows bus location in real time.)
I am challenging all council members to take the bus for at least a week at all times of day to get an idea first hand of what it is like. This should be a requirement for everyone who sits on council before they make ANY decisions on the transit service. You will find that our operators are amazing but our routes and times of service sucks!
In the meantime, I’d like to see a survey of the people who currently do NOT take the bus and find out what the barriers are. We know why our current riders take the bus, it’s because they have no other choice. I look forward to seeing all of your reports about your adventures on the bus.
By the way, did you know that there is NO bus schedule posted on the website? Everyone is expected to use the apps.That creates yet another barrier to increasing ridership.
#linnsieclark #robertdumanowski #cassihider #darrenhirsch #allisonknodel #andymcgrogan #ramonarobins #shilasharps #alisonvandyke #kasosumh #yxhtransit #MHN #MHtransit #HaveNots #twotiermedicinehat #twotiersystem #BMGC #BigMarbleFarms