The Transit Action Alliance of Guelph (TAAG) had their first community meeting on Wednesday night, and they’re aiming to take their goal of frequent, affordable, and accessible transit to the people in order to build a better bus system.
“In order for us to meet future demands, we must have a bold vision for transit in this city, and we’re not seeing that from our leaders,” said Brandon Raco, a member of the steering committee, to the gathering of 40-plus people at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church. Among those in attendance were several current and potential members of city council.
“We had a dream of what a transit advocacy group could be in this city, and to think that there’s at least 30 other people to get started, I couldn’t be happier,” Raco said to Guelph Politico after the meeting.
TAAG became a registered non-profit in July thanks to the work of a nine-member steering committee. The first Annual General Meeting for TAAG will take place in the spring, where it’s first bylaws and board members will be voted on, but the group wanted to strike while the proverbial iron is hot. “This is one of the most important years in determining the future of our transit system,” Raco said.
“I think that people in Guelph have been really tired of how our transit system has been, especially for the last five or six years, and they’ve made those one-off comments, but there hasn’t been a collective voice to express the frustration,” he added to Politico.
Transit issues have been a theme running across all ward races in this election, and TAAG is hoping to capitalize on that going forward. TAAG is looking at online forums, meetings, letter writing campaigns, rallying support from local businesses and stakeholders, and even a Guelph Transit Summit.
The goal is a transit system that’s “frequent, accessible and affordable for all.”
“People want choice, they want to have access to different modes of transportation, and right now we really don’t have alternatives beyond the car or the taxi to get where we need to go safely, affordably, and quickly,” said Raco.
In the meantime, TAAG will concentrate on building its membership, and create awareness among like-minded people in Guelph who believe that transit needs to be better, and not just for the people that depend on it.
“What brings us all together no matter what’s going on in our own lives, is transit, and building a transit system that works,” Raco added. “While the benefits of public transit may be clear to you and I, they are not clear to everyone else. We have to speak out together.”