Stranded on the Concrete Beach
In an effort to better facilitate students' transportation concerns, London city council has approved a by-law which increases cab fares throughout the Forest City.
Students have enough transport problems as it is, with an expensive and inefficient public transit system, treacherously deficient roads for bicycles and rollerbladers and most notably, overloaded parking lots on campus.
Doesn't it seem like London Transit, the Western Parking Services and London city council have little concern about the mobility of students at Western?
Obviously the university is currently in a car-happy mood. Western Parking Services offer one of the cheapest rates of student parking for any university in Ontario and has turned the entire parking system into a fast and efficient service for students. Now the dilemma is that everybody wants to drive their car to campus. The result is a problem of volume created by those who are looking for spots, as well as the number of vehicles already parked.
Let's not forget how those students who bicycle or rollerblade anywhere near campus have to jockey with the cars, busses and taxis that is, if they haven't already fallen into a pot-hole.
The London Transit alternative remains another obstacle in the path of a mobile student. At $196 per semester it seems rather costly, once again promoting the use of a car.
So, after all the attention given to improving parking facilities, Western now needs to shift its attention away from cars both to reduce campus air pollution levels and to minimize the car congestion that will only get worse once the snow begins to fall.
Other Ontario universities include a transit pass as part of the university fees and it ends up costing students much less per year. While this has been suggested before by students running for USC at Western, nothing has ever been finalized. Cost aside, London Transit is frequently late and has trouble keeping an honest schedule.
London Transit needs to clean up its act and offer more of a break to students, or better yet form a partnership with the university. For Western's part, congestion on campus could be reduced by promoting the LTC and improving roads for cyclists and rollerbladers.
The parking authority might want to reduce its overselling policies for next year and as for London city council, well... they can take a taxi to work.