Today MLA Leonard spoke about transportation options in the Legislature. You can watch the video here or read the transcript below.
Thank you to the member for Kamloops–North Thompson for presenting an opportunity to talk about more transportation options. Transportation covers a diversity of options for getting from point A to point B and covering a wide variety of circumstances, and sometimes options devolve into necessity.
I’m only one of thousands of people who really have no transportation option but to drive great distances for their work. But even when travelling the ribbons of highways, there are options to be considered. Whether moving goods or people, we all have a responsibility to do our part to reduce our carbon footprint. The biggest chunk of our day-to-day contribution to greenhouse gas emissions is from our travel. There are options like filling your tank with cleaner renewable fuels or buying a vehicle that runs cleaner or even purchasing a zero-emission vehicle.
Thankfully, CleanBC programs are on the horizon to help us make a big difference with our choices, reducing greenhouse gases by a third of our overall reduction targets in British Columbia with programs to increase the supply of cleaner renewable fuels and make those fuels even cleaner by doubling the amount of low-carbon, locally sourced biofuels. Then there’s requiring automakers to reduce tailpipe emissions and to offer more zero-emission vehicles.
Beginning with this incentive program, setting milestones for ever-increasing greenhouse gas reduction targets means that automakers will have the room to offer a greater choice of vehicles at competitive prices to serve the diverse driving needs in B.C.
Vehicular travel is one of our transportation options, and it is an expensive option. On top of capital and operations, there are added costs for parking and other hidden costs. For some people, it means that they simply can’t afford a vehicle. But people still need to move around. Thankfully, there are a number of options.
There are more affordable options that also include vehicles. There’s the old standby, car-pooling, which helps defray costs of vehicle ownership and has the by-product of reducing greenhouse gases by reducing the number of vehicles on the road. An interesting innovation has been cooperative car-sharing. That’s successful where there’s a population threshold to support it, again reducing the number of vehicles on the road.
Then, avoiding the capital cost of buying a car, there are taxis. As more people ditch the idea of owning a car or want to avoid certain trips, soon there will be ride-hailing provincewide. App-based ride-hailing jumped into a void in many cities throughout the world, and after the fact, jurisdictions are trying to wrangle this private service into something that better serves the public.
Our government is being praised for working to get it right going in, regulating this new transportation service. The Minister of Transportation will be working to promote flexibility around key issues of supply, boundaries and pricing to prepare for the introduction of ride-hailing this fall while maintaining her commitment to a safe new transportation sector.
But there’s even more impactful transportation beyond cars. Public transit can move people around more affordably, and it means less congestion on the roads. This government is working to green the province’s fleets of buses, switching more buses to electricity and compressed natural gas.
To get more people out of their cars, transit services need to be regular, frequent and easily accessible. Our government is funding more bus service, with $6 million over three years for 40,000 more hours in 20 communities. In large urban centres, people can look forward to greater transit options that get people to where they need to go, faster.
Our government has also stepped up to make sure the needs of people travelling across rural and remote communities are served by buses, since communities across B.C. were abandoned by Greyhound. And as of today, we’ve restored ferry service on the majority of ferry routes cut in 2014 to meet the needs of island communities up and down the coast.
Active transportation — walking, scooter users, cyclists and all the myriad of other alternatives — are getting attention too, with $6 million for initiatives to grow this transportation sector as well as a myriad of infrastructure improvements to roads and bridges for vehicular traffic. You can see that people everywhere are getting the attention they deserve to have more access to more safe, reliable and affordable transportation options.