London Free Press - London Needs Time to Get Shift Rolling Right

Could there be a worse time or way for city council to give an important green light to Shift, the city’s controversial plan for bus rapid transit?

On April 10, council is expected to approve the recommended design and trigger the final step toward a $500-million transit scheme that is touted as improving travel time for Londoners by as much as five minutes.

This biggest-ever spend in city history is being backed just as it is becoming clear that the use of public transit is waning. The number of trips taken on public transit buses in the United States has decreased by 15 per cent since 2012. This disturbing trend was shared this week with North London residents worried the plan would gut the Richmond Street corridor north of Oxford Street.

Rocky Moretti, a transportation consultant based in Washington, D.C., said the use of transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft has skyrocketed by 4,200 per cent during the same time.

“We need to enhance mobility for all Londoners,” Moretti, a North London resident, told an audience of about 120 gathered this week for a ward meeting by Coun. Phil Squire. “We need to anticipate changes in technology.”

The Shift plan fails to anticipate the changes in technology such as electric vehicles, automated vehicles and ride-sharing services, all of which will dramatically change the transportation landscape, he said.