When it comes to transit, the kids aren't alright - Metro US

When it comes to transit, the kids aren’t alright

The results are in and Calgary’s youth have given our city an abysmal grade for transportation. They also list “better transportation” as the No. 1 change that would improve their quality of life. The kids have pointed out the obvious and I’m sure most of us adults would say the same thing.

Better transportation would improve the lives of most Calgarians — whether you’re a 14-year-old living in Oakridge committing more than an hour on bus, train and foot to see your best friend who happens to live in Brentwood (as I once was), or a commuter trying to find a way to navigate a least-polluting path from home in the south to work in the north (as I am now).

Our city doesn’t make it easy to get from point A to point B. I can imagine, if you’re a young person living here, unless you’ve got parents willing to taxi you around at your will, you’re bound to feel the transit pain.

One survey respondent says, “Bus access and convenience in certain areas is poor. Some buses have been consistently late and unreliable as a mode of transportation.”

Calgary’s youth, aged 12 to 24 years, are feeling the pain. They gave transportation a grade of C+, the lowest score given in this year’s Youth Vital Signs Report produced by the Calgary Foundation and Youth Central. Transportation, as they judged it, includes cost, accessibility, convenience of the bus/C-Train, bike routes, reliance on cars and accessibility for youth with disabilities.

In a sprawling city that has chronically underfunded public transit and bicycle infrastructure, it only makes sense that getting around can be a bit cumbersome.

Respondents have a few suggestions to improve transportation including increasing the reliability and punctuality of buses, increasing transit routes and frequency, and lowering transit fares. Fair suggestions — I’ll second those.

One respondent feels transit fares are “becoming ridiculously expensive.” I don’t think that’s an exaggeration considering fares increased again this year (for all of us 15 years and older) despite reduced service.

I agree with Calgary’s youth: Transportation sucks here. And I’ve got some advice for those youth (the ones between 18 and 24 years old): If you don’t like it, vote for something better.

The last civic election in Calgary drew a shameful 19.8 per cent (with youth numbers consistently lacking) — so kids, if you want to see a more transit-friendly city, come October, vote for it.

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