Edmonton needs transit to its airport, and here are 14 reasons why: Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, London, Windsor, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Saint John, and St. John’s.
Even without seeing this embarrassing list of Canadian cities that have it, two-thirds of Edmontonians support the service and a majority are “likely or very likely” to ride it, according to an ETS Advisory Board survey.
Being tasked with providing fiscally responsible advice to council, the ETSAB found an operating profit with as few as nine per cent of airport passengers and staff using the route.
The financial case is solid, there’s overwhelming public support, and yet transit to the airport was still attacked at council in the most bizarre ways.
One argument said transit to the airport would steal riders from taxis. Another was people wouldn’t want to take it.
Hearing those conflicting arguments was frustrating, especially since they were both from the lone opponent at the hearing.
Councillors against the proposal made some dubious arguments of their own, like claiming nearly a million people flying “maybe twice a year” is a small population.
To counter a few more arguments, the city won’t need to provide park and ride, the airport shouldn’t have to provide transit itself, and people with “three bags and two kids” can just keep taking cabs — this is for those of us who can’t justify the hundred dollar luxury.
The only argument that made sense was there may be regional plans in the works. Just enough sense, that is, to block action.
Unfortunately, to get airport transit that way we’ll need to see the twin miracles of provincial funding and regional cooperation. Even then the plan might rely on a yet-to-exist Leduc Transit System and a transfer in Nisku.
Transit between Nisku, Leduc, and Edmonton is a worthy goal and needs regional cooperation on funding.
Getting Edmontonians to their own airport? That one’s on us.