Still waiting for the bus
David Rapaport, the author, is an adjunct professor of sociology at Trent University. He lives in Lindsay.
Just when it seems that things cannot get worse, things somehow manage to get worse.
In the December, 2022 issue of the Lindsay Advocate, I wrote an op-ed piece called “Where’s the Bus?” I complained that Lindsay, a community of 23,000, had no intercity bus or train travel to Toronto, Oshawa or Peterborough. Unless you own a car, you are basically stranded in the city – not all that far from (much) lower population centres that do have regular access to the GO system, bringing them in contact with the GO-train system originating or ending in Oshawa.
I was wrong. At the time we did have a feeble three times a week bus (both ways) service that runs between Haliburton and Toronto by TOK Coach Lines with a Lindsay stop. TOK recently announced that the service is being discontinued on January 31, 2024 – Happy New Year.
I argued last year, and still argue now that we need a GO Service, one that connects us with Oshawa and Peterborough. The 88 bus connects Peterborough with the Oshawa GO Train station – 12 times daily. Surely, there is a way that Lindsay residents can be added to that service – or establish a regular two-way service to the 35/115 GO stop – or do something, anything – to give us a regular, reliable, affordable intercity bus service.
A quick check with the Kawartha Lakes Taxi Service informs me that a trip to the Highway 35/115 GO Transit car pool would cost me (or anybody else) around $95 – depending on where the trip starts or ends in Lindsay.
The ball is now in the court of our local politicians; particularly the office of our MPP, Laurie Scott. Scott has been our MPP since 2003 – with a short hiatus between 2009 and 2011. And she has been in cabinet. Scott was minister of infrastructure in the Doug Ford government between 2020 and 2021. GO Transit is a Crown corporation, created by and accountable to the provincial government. In fact, GO is an acronym for Government of Ontario. So, my question to Scott is, where’s the bus? We’re still waiting.
It is too early in the life of the current Kawartha Lakes Council to pass judgment. But this is a legacy issue, an important issue, where establishing a GO Transit link between Lindsay and the southern Ontario rail system would be a major achievement, one that substantially improves the lives of people in our growing city.
The arguments that I presented one year ago still apply. If Lindsay is going to substantially grow in the next decade, as projected and as visible from development sites, we need intercity public transit. This particularly applies for an older population, one that runs the risk of losing driving privileges once turning 80. Lack of intercity public transit would be a Lindsay-destination disincentive for fleeing Torontonians seeking quiet and refuge elsewhere. The indigent, those who cannot afford a car (or the $95 taxi fee) are denied employment and education prospects elsewhere. And we need the greener option of travelling elsewhere. Studies repeatedly show that buses use far less carbon-based fuel per capita than privately owned cars.
I hope (and encourage) that there are conversations between our local leaders and GO Transit. A strong economic and transit case is there for a bus service.
Hopefully, my long wait for the bus will soon end. Winter is practically here and I’m getting cold.