, 27 tweets, 12 min read
1. Hey, Aaron! Why do you care about transit so much?

I’m glad you asked!

What I REALLY care about is what transit does & wow! does it do a lot.

Hop on board - let’s tour few of the amazing things we get from a great transit network & why it matters.

#yeg #yegcc #transit
2. Transit is an economic driver. The 2009 Ottawa transit strike had a negative economic impact of about $400 million over 51 days - that’s est. $2.5 billion a year!

In 2019 #yeg that number will be even higher.

Let that sink in a little.

#economy #yegcc
3. A 2016 Auditor’s report estimated transit saves #Yeg about $700 million a year by reducing congestion/ traffic jams, collisions & decreasing parking demand and environmental impacts.

This is big money, folks.

Let’s unpack that.

#transit #savings #yegcc
4. Reduce congestion.

Ppl often ask for more road lanes due to frustrating commutes. In some cases that’s needed. But what is the ACTUAL need? A less frustrating commute!


Less cars=less traffic

Better transit - in EVERY way! - clears up roads. Here’s how:

5. Taking cars off the road.

Those who want or need to drive will have an easier, faster commute when transit is attractive enough to entice those who’d rather NOT drive.

That means it’s: fast, efficient, clean, safe, ON TIME, & more affordable than taking a car.

#yeg #yegcc
6. GHG emissions reductions

If you believe in Climate Change or not, this is a simple win. Less air pollution.

#yeg #yegcc #ClimateChange #cleanair #transit
7. Infrastructure savings

Again, with less cars on the road, our infrastructure takes way less of a pounding. Our annual road capital infrastructure spending has gone up almost 4x since 2006 - we have invested, continue to invest, let’s make sure it lasts.

8. Safer.

Less cars on the road mean less collisions - both between drivers & between drivers and pedestrians. Period.

We have to make transit feel safer. An essential part of that is increasing ridership & activating stations so people have many reasons to be there. #yeg
9. Equity

More seniors will be choosing to give up driving. We must have a system that helps take care of their needs, including closer stops.

Transit also grants EVERY person mobility and opportunity for jobs, health visits, school, & reducing social isolation.

#yeg #yegcc
10. We could go on. We could write a book about this. But let’s sum up.

Transit is an ends to a means. It’s a tool.

So when #Yeg asks why I care about transit it’s because I care about all the things it does for #Yeg.

I care about the economy, seniors, mobility, savings, etc
11. My Concerns.

For every $1 put into transit $4 is returned in benefits on average. It may be more in #yeg

Knowing that, are we maximizing & optimizing this tool?

We are not.

Not by far.

Transit should be a much larger concern locally, provincially and federally.
12. We can’t build our way out of congestion

More roads cost more money. An incredible amount of tax dollars, actually.

And every time we build, the road quickly fills up. It’s called induced demand. Look at Toronto or Los Angeles for examples.

We have to be smarter.

13. Perspective (concern)

Conventional wisdom states that cities should recover 1/2 the cost of transit through fares. Why? In Alberta we don’t charge tolls for roads, they’re tax supported - but we charge tolls for transit, a double tax.

We already see the $ return of transit.
14. Negative feedback loop

When we focus on cost recovery, we focus on the wrong thing so what happens? The attempt to reach that goal means we raise fares. When we raise fares, ridership decreases. This is called ‘elasticity’.

When ridership decreases we raise fares again.
15. Defund or reduce service

The next stage is to then reduce investment in the service or to reduce the service itself. Funding slows or decreases, and routes are cut or service hours are cut etc.

This leads to problems that we slap bandaids into which leads to...
16. Privatization with a twist

To bandaid problems we turn to private solutions like taxi cabs and private security to fill the gaps. Sounds smart, right?

Except we still pay publicly and YOU pay again to the private service - costing you more than adequate funding ever would.

#yeg has incredibly low density. That means there are less people to pay taxes for sprawling infrastructure and service needs. It also means the res/non res tax rate is growing wildly out of balance. Sprawl costs us all.

If we can’t afford services, stop spreading.
18. So if we can’t afford to put transit on a new road, we can’t afford the road.

The two should be seen as part of the same build, along with better mobility paths for people with mobility aids, seniors, etc.

That is building for now & the future and it’s what #Yeg asks for.
19. These are a few benefits & concerns. Please add your own to conversation.

Nothing is free, including bad planning & restricting access to mobility & transportation.

If we’re serious about the economy, we should be creating the best #transit system possible.

#yeg #yegcc
Bonus tweets follow here:


More roads means more maintenance. Potholes, patches, resurfacing, reconstruction, snow & ice removal, lights, enforcement, & so on.

So #yeg will build more road but won’t include transit in the equation.


Possibly because:
We have a blind spot & it’s a doozy:

The cost is dumped onto YOU! & it costs you far more than a great transit system ever could.

Without adequate transit you are compelled to buy a car. It’s second nature to assume you need one in the city because HOW ELSE will you get around?
If we want better results and better bang for our buck, we need to look at all this a little differently.

What if we had a blank slate and could design the best transit system possible to serve our economic, social, health, education & emissions needs?

Work back from the ideal.
Instead we’ve kind of “Frankensteined” a system over the past 100 years.

We have outdated assumptions about cost recovery, what transit is, who it exists for & what it delivers.

Right now, we’re likely to continue in that vein.

We don’t need a redesign, we need a reset.
And probably the most fundamental change we can make is a mindset that has embedded itself in gov’t thinking:

That YOU are a customer of your gov’t.

Hmm...most businesses will tell you there are customers they don’t serve because it’s not profitable.

So should we cut you? Who?
This is actually important.

You are not a customer.

Government is not a business.

You ARE the government.

The purpose of govt is to leverage taxes into stronger opportunities & stronger communities as intelligently & compassionately as possible.

That’s it.

For you & by you.
The instant we think of transit as a business with customers instead of service for communities is the moment it starts to go sideways.

Govts should take many lessons from business, but should never try to be what it’s not. (hint: a business)

Govt is a service for public good.
My wife wants me to remind everyone that I am also this much fun at parties.

🎉 🎉 🎉
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