Taxi-saver Program Response

Published: Monday, September 24, 2012  Time not right for bus, but might be for taxi-saver program

Dear Editor
In response to Rick Mitchell’s letter to the editor of Sept. 17 in The Flying Shingle:

The taxi-saver program is not a way to get around having a bus service. A taxi-saver service is meant to complement a bus service.

But in these hard economic times taxpayers are fatigued and have told me over and over they are not willing to pay for a bus system right now. There have been two proposals to fund a shuttle-bus service submitted to me as the regional director. Both of the proposals were well-researched, but unfortunately they could not be funded with Community Works funds and would require a increase in taxes.

Mitchell’s first two points about the environment and sustainability are all good. His third point about cost is a bit off. Yes if there was a bus there would be a cost-sharing, but with BC transit only. The federal government is not a contributor. The Regional District of Nanaimo (us) would be gathering the taxes and paying for the service. Based on the 2010 Gabriola Island Transit Feasibility Study, we would need about $3oo,ooo to get the service underway. That would be a 40/60 split with BC transit and the expected revenue is about $40 thousand to $45 thousand so this would not be a break even enterprise. The costs that are being quoted are in 2010 dollars and the price of fuel, repairs etc. have all gone up so we should expect a larger increase in taxes than the report states.

The service would be one bus doing four scheduled commuter trips plus three midday trips. If you live in any of the subdivisions like Clamshell, above the Community Hall, at Islands View, off Buttercup etc. you will need to make your way out to the main road for the bus. This is the basic route the school bus takes.

The cost of the taxi-saver service will be higher in the first year because of the cost to draft a bylaw and start the service. The following years the cost will drop to about $10,000 per year. That should work out to an increase in taxes of 80 CENTS per $100,000 of the home’s value.

I think there will be a time when Gabriolan’s are willing to pay for a bus through their taxes and I would love to see that. I am always open to hearing what people think on this or different issues, you can contact me at howardhoule.wordpress.com

Howard Houle
Regional Director, Area B
Regional District of Nanaimo

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