Insert Your New Ideas Here

June Op-ed for the Bridge River Lillooet News

In less than 6 weeks the online passenger train petition has 1,150 signatures, and counting. (https://www.change.org/p/premier-gov-bc-ca-bring-back-the-north-vancouver-to-prince-george-passenger-train) The Facebook page—Bring Back the BC Passenger Train—has hundreds of Likes and shares so far. People are keen to have the service.

But as I connect with people and do research, one negative keeps cooling the excitement: even though population, highway traffic, and tourism have significantly increased since the train was cancelled in 2002, would ridership be enough to make a new service profitable?

To that negative train of thought (sorry, the puns abound) I would say this: it’s time to think beyond old-school revenue models. Why force ridership to be the sole profit generator? Let’s re-imagine the passenger train concept and find ways to maximize the infrastructure in terms of the incoming green economy.

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Some new kind of crazy

We have to change our ways, and fast, and yet our politicians are still smiling for the cameras and pushing fracking and LNG plants; in faraway offices behind closed doors they’re still approving oil and bitumen pipelines that traverse vast stretches of land, up and down mountain ranges, in an active earthquake zone, pipelines that are bound for coastal tankers which will then navigate rugged BC fjords during winter storms and other extreme weather events, pipelines that are bound for tankers that will go right through the heart of Vancouver’s staggering coastal beauty.

And why are politicians dragging their feet and timidly avoiding the green revolution? Because they want to get re-elected. Because they lack vision and/or courage. Because they put politicking over people, because they don’t want to go anywhere near the touchy subject of structural economic change. Because they don’t want people to panic.

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