Does London deserve better transit? Yes – absolutely! It is clear that London needs and deserves better transit; however, the current Bus Rapid Transit Plan (BRT) does not deliver better transit. An effective model should benefit all Londoners and make sense. BRT does neither.
Nothing will be rapid until the railway crossings are dealt with. They divide our city and there is no getting around them – not for BRT – not for anyone. $50,000+ in signs warning travellers that a train is coming will only divert traffic through residential areas feeding into major arteries not affected by the train – and those arteries will become further clogged. It is another recipe for disaster, and will be dangerous in residential areas. Both Adelaide and Richmond rail crossings must be addressed.
I do not trust the numbers, the budget, or the timeline we have been given – they have changed too many times, do not answer the many outstanding questions, and make unfounded assumptions. For example, the question about what will happen with buses through Western University remains unanswered. Who will pay for cost over-runs? How will the $12+ million in annual operating costs for BRT be handled if the government changes its funding formula/gas tax rebate to municipalities?
There is no credible evidence that public transit ridership would increase through BRT and I suggest it would do otherwise. What once would have been a one bus trip (current LTC routes) would become a multiple bus trip, with the many transfers under BRT. Uber is already affecting ridership on LTC busses. If the trend follows the pattern in other cities, we will continue to see a decrease.
Our City will be torn up for at least a decade or more. Many people will lose their homes and their businesses. The charm and look of London, especially along Richmond, will be destroyed. For me, this is all unacceptable!
A good transit plan should serve the needs of ALL Londoners – BRT does not. Many areas in London have been excluded from the BRT busing routes proposed – the 4 corners of London have been completely left out, plus industrial areas where many people are employed are not considered. Proponents of BRT cite environmental issues and the London Plan. So why is BRT suggesting we continue with old technology and methods of transportation? The reality is, citizens have the right to drive cars if that is their preferred and most effective mode of transportation. If we make London vehicle unfriendly – people will move to other cities – not to a multiple bus transfer route. All of this pain for very little gain!
If London needs more buses along the north/south corridors and east/west corridors, then we should add them and make bus bays so they do not block traffic flow. It is a simple, cost effective, solution that will improve transit for everyone until London deals with the railway crossings. Nothing will be rapid until those are addressed. Under BRT, at the end of 20 years we will still be at the same place, burdened with railway blockage.
HALF A BILLION dollars should make a positive and meaningful difference – BRT does not.
Londoners deserve more and should demand better.
It is time for change.