Transportation

Transit and Climate Change

By Ryan McGreal
Published December 06, 2005

(Earlier, I posted a copy of a letter I sent to Council on the city staff recommendation that HSR raise its fares by 15 cents. Here's another take from Environment Hamilton.)

Dear Councillors,

Please vote against a fare increase.

The recommended option would add 15 cents to the fares and $40 to the senior's annual pass. The staff report from HSR says that such an increase will "result in an estimated permanent loss of 780,000 passenger trips annually". These passengers will presumably seek private transit of some kind - and lead to more cars on the road.

The increase in bus fares has implications for air quality and climate change. In the last few months, some very disturbing scientific findings have been released. These include:

Some cities in North America, such as Seattle, have free transit in their downtowns, which decongests the roads and keeps the air clean. People who travel by public transit create 65 percent fewer GHG emissions than if they travel by car.

We need to be encouraging, not deterring, our city from riding the bus.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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