Transit should be more reliable than driving during snow days, says critic

Kori Sidaway – CHEK
More snow than expected brought public transit in Victoria to a brief standstill.

That was much to the frustration of users, who questioned the region’s transportation system’s decision and challenged it to do better.

“When there’s only a little bit of snow, you don’t expect the whole transit system to shut down,” said Eric Doherty, a member of the Better Transit Alliance for Greater Victoria.

Five to 10 centimetres blanketed the region overnight, and Saanich Police told CHEK News they responded to five crashes between 6 and 7 a.m.

But with roads more slushy than snowy, walking appeared to be the more treacherous morning commute. However, it was even more trouble for those walking to a bus stop.

“I don’t think BC Transit takes reliability seriously enough,” said Doherty.

Despite the relatively small accumulation, BC Transit suspended service in Victoria temporarily, with many routes not fully serviced until 11 a.m.

Doherty is calling for better transit in the Capital Region, saying if the province is serious about its climate goals, transit should be more reliable than driving.

“The provincial government has committed to having 25 per cent less driving by 2030 as part of their Clean BC climate plan,” said Doherty.

“If transit isn’t reliable, there’s no way that we’re going to get the thousands and thousands of people to stop driving and take transit.”

In a statement to CHEK News, BC Transit said it was “not a decision the organization took lightly.”

Transportation contradictions popped up in Sooke and Nanaimo School Districts as well. Schools were open later than usual, but bus services were cancelled.

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The decision angered at least one parent, prompting them to take to Twitter and say parents shouldn’t be expected to drive to school if buses aren’t operating.

In contrast, Victoria School District remained open, and instead of stopping its bus services, it added more.