Open letter to Donna Macdonald, and the current sitting council:
I must say I am a fan of fiction, and your Wednesday column (“Teasing out the transit tangle”) did not disappoint. So how about we dissect your words, and we can really see what is going on.
1. You first try to state that transit service is not specifically being picked on, and I would have to strongly disagree with you there. At no time was there a mention about our police service, fire department, or public works facing cost overruns.
2. You try to answer the question of why these buses cost so much, and while I agree with much of what you say, we transit riders have been asking why city council did not demand an accounting from BC Transit before we acquired these buses as far as what the cost would be. Surely these flashy buses in service for the Olympics would provide data to BC Transit as to what it would cost to operate, and provide that information to you before you signed your agreements. Had you guys done your homework, you would have seen this deficit coming, and perhaps made a more intelligent decision.
3. You try to explain why council cut service. Now let us clarify a big point here. The “reviews” if you can call it that, was a sampling of ridership over two days during spring break, and again during summer holiday, thus omitting students from the sampling, and also the 20 per cent drop in ridership because even us “low-income folks” like to take vacations.
I would submit that there is not a reputable statistician in the world that would accept such inferior data. A proper study is conducted over a two week period, at least three times throughout the year so that you can get a more accurate picture of how the system is really used. One could almost construe that council had an agenda of cutting transit service, and this inferior study would help in justifying your decisions.
4. You call yourself a “choice rider” and complain that our service is too slow for your taste. How dare you complain that our system does not meet your personal preference? The system is what it is in order to help the most people.
We, as riders know this, and respect this, and we make it work in our lives. It sounds to me you care more about your personal convenience, rather than what serves the greater community best. As a politician, you should be ashamed of yourself for taking such a personal and shallow approach. Also, can you honestly show the public that council has made any attempts at promoting transit use?
5. Finally, you try and state that you oppose council’s decisions with regard to transit service, even though you admit to voting for what you claim to oppose. At least councillor Robin Cherbo had the guts to stand up for what is right and vote against these decisions. If you actually opposed these decisions, then you should have voted against them. All you proved is that you are a great follower, ready to jump on the bandwagon, not the leader you were elected to be. Please don’t insult our intelligence by trying to save your political career by claiming to be something you are not. Your actions speak far louder than your words.
The Nelson transit riders community is committed to holding council accountable on this matter, and to ensure the public at large knows the whole story, not the elaborate spin-doctoring of our politicians. We believe there is a better way to address the transit crisis than destroying over a century of public transportation history due to poor leadership, and lack of due diligence on the part of our mayor, and current sitting council. Just remember this: your blank cheque expires November 19, and then the people will decide our direction from there.