Province needs to get on the bus

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Commuter transit is coming to the Foothills.

The Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) rolled out the buses for its On-It regional transit service on Oct. 3. When the two-year pilot project officially starts on Oct. 11, the service will connect Okotoks, High River, Black Diamond and Turner Valley to the Calgary LRT system.

It’s a milestone moment for the Foothills communities, and it’s one that would likely not have happened without provincial support. It’s essential the Province continue to support transit once the two-year project is complete to ensure the buses continue to roll.

Transit is essential as communities in the Foothills grow to reduce congestion on roads and highways in the region and to reduce emissions from cars and trucks.

The On-It service is the first step to achieving these goals.

It would’ve been prohibitively expensive for communities like Black Diamond and Turner Valley to provide commuter transit on their own. Even for the larger towns of High River and Okotoks, the provincial funding is essential to seeing the busses roll.

The CRP’s goal is to attract riders over the next two years and prove the service can be viable.

However, the Province can’t walk away once the pilot is complete.

The government is working on a transit strategy to provide a long-term vision and guide decisions for where to invest in transit programs and infrastructure.

There needs to be room for smaller communities in any kind of provincial strategy or framework for transit.

Transit is an expensive proposition, whether it’s a subway in downtown Calgary, or commuter busses in Turner Valley.

It’s an important investment in the future, and it’s essential the Province is there to help communities get the bus rolling.

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