Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why I Support LRT

Normally I let Chris do the transit-talking around here, but I have a little story of my own to tell.

I started my post-secondary education at the University of Waterloo in September of 1995. For various reasons, I lived at home for my first two years of school. Home was Cambridge. Unfortunately, I had neither a driver's license nor a car to drive. Sometimes my dad would drive me to school, sometimes I could catch a ride with a friend. But more often than not, I had to get to UW via public transit.

At the time, the entity known as Grand River Transit didn't exist. In order to get from my home in Cambridge to the University, I had to deal with three different transit systems (Cambridge Transit, Trentway-Wagar, and Kitchener Transit). On days where I had an 8:30 class (which was usually three days a week at least) I had to get up at 5:30am, and I would still arrive on campus 15 minutes late for class...and that's if I was lucky enough to make all my connections. It was physically impossible to get to campus on time for an 8:30 class. I missed lots of classes entirely because the bus transfers didn't work out. And then I still had to do the whole process in reverse at the end of the day. If I had a night class until 10pm? Forget it, I had to leave early in order to not miss the last Trentway bus of the night.

Needless to say, this lifestyle took a huge toll on my sanity, my sleep schedule and my marks. When Grand River Transit was created, I cheered long and loud, even though I was no longer a regular transit rider by that time. When the iXpress service was created, I cheered even louder. If only that had been in place during my early student days!! So now that we are facing the decision time for the next "big stage" of transit improvements, I think back to that time of my life, living with a fractured transit system that didn't work. Many people say that our existing transit system, with all the improvements added since the mid-90's, doesn't work. So let's make a transit system that works!!

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