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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What To Do When You Can't Use Public Transit

The city of Ottawa is currently in the throes of a transit strike. While I am not at all educated about this particular labour disruption, I was struck when watching the national news at the effect that it is having on commuters. Many more cars are clogging the streets, rush hour starts earlier and earlier every day, and downtown parking lots are completely full. All in all, it was nearly complete chaos.

Here in Halifax, we were very close to having a school bus strike of our own over the past few weeks. While that appears to be averted, a simple accident (or was it a water main break?) on Monday morning sent traffic into a panic.

Obviously, we are at the very edge of being able to manage our current transportation system. Our needs and wants have become completely unrealistic. We choose to live in suburban sprawl and have become dependent on our vehicles for getting to work. Those who use public transit obviously go a long way to help the situation as evidenced by how much worse Ottawa is today.

So... what to do?

First, where public transit is available, we should all endeavour to use it as much as possible. It saves wear and tear on your personal vehicle and helps a lot with GHG.

Second, we should choose to live in more appropriate locales. Walk to work if it is at all possible. If you work urban, you should attempt to live urban. (I know, this is complete impractical and unaffordable for most of us. But we need to examine why this is so.)

Third, investigate ride-share programs in your city or neighbourhood.

Fourth, explore the option of working from home whenever possible. It's a very short commute and uses no gasoline. That's better than riding the bus!

Fifth, communicate with others. Lobby for more effective public transit. Champion tele-commuting in your office.

And finally, petition the powers that be to come to a fair and equitable end to the current transit strike in Ottawa.

Do you live in Ottawa? Tell me about the effect the transit strike has had on you!
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