A lack of affordable, reliable, public transportation and access to other transportation options is directly linked to poverty. The limited access to services and the social exclusion that results from a lack of transportation prevents people from attaining their desired social and economic potential. It impacts individuals’ employability and ability to get to childcare centres, recreation activities, shopping and health and social services and programs.
The ability of all residents to access essential services and to participate in economic and social life is dependent on the availability and quality of local transportation services and options. Reliable and affordable transportation, including public transportation, enhances the livelihood, economic stability and quality of life of all residents. The ability to participate and be actively engaged in activities are key elements of healthy and inclusive communities, making transportation an absolutely vital component. Transportation is consistently identified as one of the highest priorities for action to reduce poverty in communities across the province. A lack of transportation – particularly in rural areas – limits individuals’ quality of life and community economic development.
Transportation is a crucial issue for the residents of the City of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton County, especially considering its immense geographic area: a total of 7,154 km2. The expansive rural area provides additional challenges, further impacting affected sectors, including:
1. Lobby the provincial and federal governments for cheaper gas and/or gas subsidies, credits and/or rebates.
2. Lobby the government of Ontario to take a more active role in transportation and view ridership per capita not strict formulae of absolute ridership.
3. Develop specific, short term transportation support/ subsidy programs for low income earners preparing to return to work or for other specific purposes.
4. Expand discounts for Lindsay bus passes and rural “dial-a-ride” transit to low-income earners.
5. Draft transportation strategies for the City of Kawartha Lakes, building on the recommendations of the Official Plan and Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP).
6. Develop a rural transportation system for the County of Haliburton, considering the Northumberland model and a possible Municipal Transit Authority
7. Create and coordinate a central, easily accessible car share/car pool program.
8. Create and coordinate a central contact point through which residents can learn about and book transportation (e.g. central “ride board” of individuals, organizations, municipality offering rides).
9. Increase transportation support offered by the City, the County and its lower tier municipalities, social services agencies and community organizations to access their programs and services.
10. Encourage grocery stores, pharmacies, food banks, etc. to provide no/minimal cost delivery services and/or customer transportation
11. Designate “public seats” on school buses replicating successful programs in other communities such as the Municipality of Orangeville.
12. Invest in efforts to educate residents about alternatives to the “car culture” at the community level.
13. Invest, through programs and policy, in active transportation infrastructure such as bike and pedestrian paths, bike lanes, paved shoulders, signage, walkways and benches.