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To increase bus usage, make driving inconvenient

Every time we have a municipal election, candidates claim they have the solution to improve transit ridership. The problem is that none of their solutions will work.

Every time we have a municipal election, candidates claim they have the solution to improve transit ridership. The problem is that none of their solutions will work.

Their solutions are always bandaid solutions that never address the underlying causes of low ridership. Few people take the bus in Lethbridge because it is way too convenient to drive.

If you want to be serious about increasing ridership, you have to make driving more inconvenient.

It’d take drastic, unconventional measures to increase ridership, but most city councils (present and future) will never go for it.

Here are a few measures I could think of off the top of my head to make driving more inconvenient and transit more attractive:

  • Eliminate bus fares
  • Make 15 min frequency standard (7 min across Whoop Up)
  • Have fewer routes stop downtown
  • Make holiday/Sunday service same as the rest of the week
  • Stop adding lanes to existing roadways
  • Stop creating additional arterials
  • Don’t build a third bridge
  • Implement exorbitant commuter parking fees
  • Outlaw non-resident parking in London Road, Tudor, and Varsity Village, and near the hospital.
  • Make university and college parking exorbitant for Lethbridge users
  • Make drivers yield to buses at all times
  • Give buses ability to change traffic lights
  • Increase number of bus shelters and make them heated

But campaigning on all of these, let along implementing them, would be political suicide. So no one will do it, and we will continue to have low transit ridership.

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By Kim Siever

I live in Lethbridge with my spouse and 5 of our 6 children. I’m a writer, focusing on political news, social issues, and the occasional poem. My politics are radically left. I recently finished writing a book debunking several capitalism myths. My newest book writing project is on the labour history of Lethbridge.

I’m also dichotomally Mormon. And I’m a functional vegetarian: I have a blog post about that somewhere around here. My pronouns are he/him, and I’m queer.

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