Let’s get mov­ing

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM -

In the strange world in which we live, noth­ing is fun­nier than the race of all gov­ern­ments to of­fer in­cen­tive over in­cen­tive to buy an elec­tric car; funny but painful to pay for and all in the guise of be­ing nice to the en­vi­ron­ment. Once again, the palm, the Os­car of sub­si­dies, went to the Que­bec govern­ment who, a cou­ple of years ago, was of­fer­ing $8,000 in tax cred­its - for elec­tric cars that did not ex­ist then, now or to­mor­row.

Yet, ev­ery­body knows that pub­lic trans­porta­tion is the most eco­nom­i­cal and eco­log­i­cal way of trans­port­ing peo­ple from point A to point B. From A to C it gets com­pli­cated, and from A to Z, down­right im­pos­si­ble.

Here in our re­gion, there is no pub­lic trans­porta­tion from our own point A’s to our two nat­u­ral B’s : Ma­gog and Sherbrooke. In fact, in our MRC, only Ma­gog and Man­sonville have pub­lic trans­porta­tion. In the lat­ter case, pub­lic trans­porta­tion goes to Z. The Man­sonville line goes to Mon­treal, via Brome, Cowansville etc. So, if some­one had an ap­point­ment at their hos­pi­tal in Ma­gog, they would have to board a bus to Mon­treal, trans­fer to one for Ma­gog, and back again, with a sleep­over ei­ther in Mon­treal or Ma­gog! Cheaper and faster in a taxi.

There is a huge cost as­so­ci­ated with the lack of a pub­lic trans­porta­tion pol­icy in the MRC. It will sub­si­dize a tourist bus to Or­ford. Once it even had the gall to do the same so that Sherbrooke work­ers could go to their jobs in Ma­gog. It of­fers small to­kens that are no re­place­ment for a com­plete tran­sit sys­tem. There is the kludge of a sys­tem of­fered by Trans­ports des Alen­tours: please re­serve 48 hours in ad­vance, good only on Tues­day and Fri­day in Stanstead, Mon­day only in North Hat­ley. Best served are Austin and Bolton West, five days a week; noth­ing to do with the fact that the for­mer pre­fect of the MRC was mayor of Austin, nat­u­rally…

So, if you are poor, you get poorer by buy­ing your­self a clunker or you hope that your neigh­bour will of­fer you a ride. And if you get a job in Ma­gog, get out of Stanstead or Ayer’s Cliff or North Hat­ley as fast as you can. So we are left with poor peo­ple that are get­ting poorer while those that can get a job go live else­where. Need­less to say, this is a not a pos­i­tive when try­ing to at­tract new busi­ness.

If you are a stu­dent, this is the per­fect ticket out of Stanstead for­ever. Af­ter high school, you move to Sherbrooke or else­where and never look back. So rather than re­tain­ing the youths that have an ed­u­ca­tion, paid for by your taxes, we are sub­si­diz­ing towns that don’t need our tax dol­lars. Gone also is the pool of part-time work­ers, who are key to to­day’s busi­nesses, to the ben­e­fit of Sherbrooke, Mon­treal, etc.

Now, we do not need a metro line here. With a lot more money rather than the pit­tance that the MRC gives Trans­ports des Alen­tours, us­ing un­used school buses dur­ing the day, util­is­ing our taxis to the fullest, we could have a func­tion­ing tran­sit sys­tem in a cou­ple of months. Ev­ery­body would gain and we could stop los­ing work­ers and stu­dents.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.