Darcy Hutzel

Q1: I do not support any new spending without an approved Master Transit Plan in place.

Q2: Same as question #1, I do not support any new spending without an approved Master Transit Plan in place. Once that is in place, it’s important that those areas that are being intensified have appropriate transit options available to them once residents start moving in.

Q3: Same as question #1 and #2, I do not support any new spending without an approved Master Transit Plan in place.

Q4: I cannot properly answer this question the way it’s asked, as this doesn not have to be an either/or choice, as there may be ways to provide on demand service (ride sharing services, for example) to provide cost-effective service in areas with low ridership.

I agree that we need to increase ridership, and we need to make sure the system is financially sustainable while balancing the needs of all transit users, especially those who are vulnerable and disabled.

Q5: I believe Council made an informed decision in the last term, and I do not support revisiting it during the next term.

Q6: I can’t answer one or the other, as I think we should listen to all voices, both transit and non-transit users in addition to hearing the views of outside consultants. I will always support hearing from more voices rather than less to ensure council always makes informed decisions about how to deliver services in a cost-effective manner.

As for reinstituting the City’s Transit Advisory Committee, I’m open to the idea, however I would like to hear from members of the current Integrated Transit Advisory Committee as well as Bfast as to how re-establishing the committee would tangibly improve upon the current system before fully supporting it.

General Comments: I’d like to commend Bfast for acting as a voice for those who both rely upon and are passionate about helping the city develop a transit system that is reflective of the needs of the entire community.

I attended your Annual Meeting in April, and I was impressed by both the turnout and the quality of the ideas that were discussed there, and I appreciate the opportunity you are providing the public to learn about where prospective Council and Mayoral candidates stand on Transit issues via this survey.

First of all, I recognize that Public Transit is an important city service that many people in our city depend upon, especially the vulnerable and the disabled.

Unfortunately, given our population density and urban sprawl it is also a very expensive service to deliver effectively in our city. According to staff Budget forecasts, we are currently in the second year of six consecutive annual city property tax increases of over 4%.

Residents cannot afford to make new investments in public transit on a piecemeal basis without first having a Master Transit Plan in place that is properly costed to ensure we have the means to fund those improvements.

As such, I support that Council prioritizes the development of a Master Transit Plan that:

• strikes a balance between the need for improved service delivery against the potentially substantial increase in the cost to deliver those service improvements;
• reflects community opinion obtained via a proper and informed public consultation process that includes both transit users and non-users alike;
• respects the fact that the vast majority of residents in our city want or need to drive no matter how cost effective or convenient transit might be, and as such the transit plan must not contain provisions that penalize those who freely make that choice; and
• considers employing alternative service delivery options (eg: ride sharing services) to provide service to residents who live in areas where maintaining full transit service is not cost-effective.

Finally, we have police, waste management and water services delivered at the Regional level – let’s study the feasibility of delivering fully integrated Transit services at the Regional level as well. This would involve uploading each of the four separate city transit and para-transit services to Halton Region.

Looking at the experience of York Region, who integrated 11 local transit systems over a decade ago, I believe that the potential for improved and fully integrated service delivery between cities, combined with the economies of scale that could be achieved in both purchasing power, fleet management and streamlined operational and staff efficiencies are too great to ignore.

I’d be interested in hearing Bfast’s thoughts on the potential benefits and drawbacks of this idea.

Once again, thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback on these issues, and I look forward to hearing more from Bfast members both during and after the election on October 22nd.

Darcy Hutzel
for Councillor | Burlington Ward 3

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