Photo by Whitehorse Star
Photo by Whitehorse Star
As the city continues work on its transit master plan, the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition (YAPC) and two Yukon College students are pointing to the need for more frequent service.
Michael Dougherty, the YAPC’s secretary, and co-chair Colette Acheson were the first to address council Monday evening.
They pointed to the Safe At Home action plan for the city that was published last fall, aimed at preventing and ending homelessness.
One of the key recommendations from that plan, Dougherty said, is for greater access to transportation.
Additionally, he said, the interim report on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls also speaks to the need for more frequent transit throughout the country.
Dougherty said the YAPC sees the city’s transit plan as an opportunity to work toward greater access to transit.
As Acheson pointed out, the need for improved bus service is evident in the comments the coalition hears from those needing transportation on Sunday, and from front-line workers who find themselves having to facilitate safe transportation for their clients.
Acheson said the YAPC is looking forward to working with the city on the transit plan, which she described as an “important initiative” for Whitehorse.
Meanwhile, two Yukon College students also described the struggles they and other students face with limited service.
Having no Sunday bus service makes it difficult that day for students who want to get anywhere – whether it be a job or to study at the school if they don’t live on campus.
Carrie Boles described walking that can take “hours and hours out of your day” on Sundays or if it’s after the final bus does its route after 10 p.m. through the week.
Boles also noted that service should be provided to areas that are outside the city’s main urban areas.
“We’re not asking for a lot,” she said, calling for service on Sundays and later on Saturdays.
The master plan may look at such possibilities.
However, Mayor Dan Curtis has stated in previous interviews that it’s unlikely transit will be offered on Sundays as the service is already subsidized by 50 per cent. As well, the number of Sunday fares is anticipated to be fairly limited.
The city would likely have to raise fares or taxes or both substantially to add Sunday service.
Work on the city’s transit master plan has been underway for a few months.
Along with consultation efforts, the city has also been looking at ridership numbers and the like, and experimented with a temporary morning bus lane in Riverdale last week.
It’s anticipated the master plan will by ready to come forward for council’s approval in March.
Coun. Samson Hartland was absent from Monday’s meeting.
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