Burlington for Accessible Sustainable Transit
Burlington for Accessible Sustainable Transit

Transit Users’ Forum to return Sept. 23 after pandemic pause

Crowd at 2019 Burlington Transit Users' Forum

A section of the crowd listens to a presentation from former Burlington Transit Director Sue Connor at the 2019 Transit Users’ Forum, the last held before the Covid pandemic.

The annual Burlington Transit Users’ Forum will be held on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 1pm in Centennial Hall at the Burlington Central Library, resuming after a four-year pandemic hiatus.

“We are excited to be able to resume holding this popular event, which is supported by more than a dozen prominent community organizations,” said Doug Brown, chair of Burlington for Accessible Sustainable Transit (BFAST), the lead organizer of the Forum.

This year’s Forum will once again include an opportunity for transit riders to discuss their concerns and ideas for improvement. Burlington Transit Director Catherine Baldelli will field questions and members of City Council will be present to discuss transit issues. Local MPs and MPPs have also been invited.

There will be presentations on transit electrification in Burlington, updates on the new free-transit programs for seniors and youth, and City Council’s directive to investigate free transit for all. Other featured topics will include the need for continued operational funding from senior levels of government and the economic benefits of transit investment.

Brown hailed the involvement of Burlington Transit in this year’s Forum.

“Burlington’s Transit Users’ Forum is unique in Canada,” said Brown. “There is no event like it anywhere else. It speaks to Burlington Transit’s commitment to engage with its riders that our transit agency supports and participates in this exercise, which is organized by citizen volunteers.” More than 140 people attended the last Forum.

For the first time, attendees will be able to participate in discussions remotely via Zoom.

Further details, including a formal agenda, will be released in the coming weeks. See our Transit Forum page for updates.

“Covid and climate change have had and will have profound impacts on the future of public transit,” said Brown. “Burlington Transit faced unprecedented challenges but successfully kept transit moving through the worst of the pandemic, providing an essential service that allowed health-care and other vital workers to get to their jobs. While the service pulled through with flying colours, it faces new challenges, including electrification and the need to assume a leading role in local efforts to fight a warming climate. One of the key issues we will discuss at the Transit Forum is the recent request by Council for a cost-benefit analysis which may bring about free transit for all Burlington residents,regardless of age. And there is a continuing national effort, led by municipal governments and citizen advocates, to provide operational funding to facilitate the changes that will be needed if we are to achieve success in mitigating the effects of climate change.”

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