May 15th, 2020
LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER: Canada's transit can't wait any longer
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,
Recently, a wide-ranging group of grassroots activists, labour organizations and transit stakeholders wrote to you, urging your government to provide emergency and permanent operating funding for Canada's public transit systems. We are writing today to express our full support for this urgently needed funding.
Public transit systems have seen fare revenues dwindle as ridership has declined due to the pandemic. In many instances fare collection itself has become impossible. Yet, despite reduced revenue streams, transit systems must continue to operate in order to allow essential workers to travel between work and home. Transit is also often the only way people in marginalized situations can access essential services at this time.
Canadian municipalities alone cannot bear the burden of sustaining our transit systems at this difficult time, since their fiscal capacity is substantially less than that of the federal or provincial governments. All orders of government must come together and find solutions to prevent interruptions of services. This must begin with the federal provision of emergency funds to support transit services.
We have been calling for action for some time. We sent a letter to Minister McKenna on April 16 and raised the issue with you directly on May 7 during the Virtual Parliament session. Your government has issued emergency funding to people, industries and businesses across all sectors of Canadian society, yet public transit has been left out. This must change.
Access to high-quality, reliable public transit is vital to our economic recovery and climate action goals. For our recovery to be sustainable, essential services such as transit will need to be ready and available to all who need them.
We look forward to swift action from your government in support of public transit.
MP Niki Ashton
MP Taylor Bachrach