Community groups urge mayor, council to approve London Transit funding ask

February 14, 2024

The London and District Labour Council calls on the City Council to invest in expanded and improved public transit services and we are very pleased to be joining several community organizations focused on the same demands for this press conference.

There are so many reasons for City of London to invest in expanded and improved public transit services:

London currently leads cities in Canada in terms of significant and fast growth of population and newcomers.  We can look at other cities like Brampton which is going to implement an additional over 108,00 hours of service, or the region of Waterloo with 50,000 more hours. The current proposal by City Council not to invest in public transit will result in no frequency improvements; no service to new areas; more crowding on routes; longer waits; and potential elimination of routes.  This simply does not make sense, particularly given the huge increases in numbers and needs of Londoners.

This is of course a labour issue in a couple of ways: first, these are good green jobs for unionized workers. More public transit jobs makes so much sense in terms of providing jobs that can contribute to the quality of life for those workers and for folks who need affordable transportation. Second, we must have reliable and affordable options for all workers to get to their jobs, no matter where they live or where they work.  We know we have an acute affordability crisis in our city and in our province.  Putting up obstacles to workers accessing work or community members gaining access to basic necessities like groceries or public health care, is simply the wrong way to go.

This is clearly a matter of equity: so many more people in London cannot afford their own personal vehicles – in other words, they experience mobility poverty.   Women, racialized people and those living in poverty are more likely to require public transit.  And importantly, we must highlight the need for people with disabilities to be able to access public transit services without obstacles to do so and with the necessary accommodations in place.  We also recognize that many students, increasingly impacted by the affordability crisis, rely on the public transit system.  Public transit is a vital public service that provides so much to so many. We urge the City Council to include expanded investments for transit in the current budget.  

Patti Dalton, LDLC President, joined several groups to urge the Mayor and Council to approve a transit budget with service expansion.

The lack of budgeted [London Transit] service expansion makes no sense given the city’s growing population, said Patti Dalton of the London and District Labour Council.

“In some cases, people are not even applying for certain jobs,” she said.

“This is definitely an accessibility issue, a labour issue, and also it’s an equity issue, because we have so many people… who are in this acute affordability crisis.”

Read the full story here (CBC).

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