Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends!

With the Family Day long weekend drawing to a close in Calgary, the time has come for TransitCamp YYC to get back to our business as Calgarians making transit better — and clearly, not a moment too soon.

City Council’s Standing Policy Committee on Transportation and Transit has a full agenda this Wednesday. Part of our job at TransitCamp YYC is to review and analyse the reports that municipal administrators prepare for consideration by this committee, to ensure that the immediate and the long-term needs of Calgary Transit’s passengers and customers are being addressed by the committee, and ultimately by City Council. Our mandate is to bring our experience and our expertise in working with municipal, institutional, and passenger stakeholders on public transit in Calgary to addressing the issues and finding solutions.

This Wednesday’s docket makes it pretty clear that of the former, we have some — and of the latter, we need some.

Let’s take the committee report on new Calgary Transit fare strategies as a case in point. The structure for assessing and charging Calgary Transit passenger fares must be transparent and equitable; that much is obvious. As TransitCamp YYC’s Kim Jones rightly noted, however, “care must be taken to not overburden vulnerable Calgarians with increased fares beyond what they can pay.” Let’s make fare products easier to buy and simpler to understand — especially for those who need transit services most. Let’s look at building on revenue opportunities from advertising, parking, and land development to take some of the day-to-day pressure off the fare box. Let’s make Calgary Transit’s fare system better, and fairer.

Now what about the committee report on Phase One of the Centre City Transit Improvements Plan? TransitCamp YYC will invite the committee to consider a broad range of measures to make inner-city public transportation more robust and effective. The thoughts you’ll find on the public record here and here speak to a much larger issue — the need for the Centre City Transit Improvements Plan to look past the quick fix, the cheap fix, and to rise to the strategic horizon that the RouteAhead transit plan anticipates for this city as a whole. TransitCamp YYC will be front and centre in the discussions that will come over the next twenty months with Phase Two of the plan. TransitCamp YYC will be there every step of the way to make sure that Calgarians can have that vital and constructive dialogue that will turn this plan in progress into a Centre City Transit Improvement Strategy that we can execute for the benefit of inner-city transit passengers and for all Calgarians.

So if you’re thinking that Wednesday’s going to be a pretty big day for the future of public transit in Calgary, you’re going to be on the mark. TransitCamp YYC’s going to be there. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

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