When I bought a home in Peterborough, Ontario a year ago, no one told me the city wanted home buyers that owned and operated cars.
This non-driver does not have confidence that Peterborough would have transportation for non-drivers out of the city during an emergency. The car is your life line with you as the driver.
Media, I realize, ignorantly advertise regional events, festivals, and county fairs only for drivers. Residents who can’t provide their own transportation are not considered qualifiers. Warnings that get passed along by cabbies and residents to stay off Peterborough’s public transit system for the rider’s own protection roadblock non-drivers. Property owners in Peterborough who have the advantage of moving around the community with independence and dignity believe that any bus riders expecting transit improvement, including Trent and Fleming students, should stay out of Peterborough. No transit rider should ask the City for transit growth.
The two cab companies that serve Peterborough shut phones off during late hours, weather changes, and large city events, signalling a driver shortage. Drivers explain that services can’t comply with consumer volume. Customers are told that no drivers for the cars are available during peak periods. Agents advise contract arrangements with city agencies and ride service for primary schools occupy these fleets. The inconveniences for users are too numerous to count. Efforts to fool the public that Peterborough has other available taxi services fades fast when companies managing the operations are dealing with any complications and won’t pick up calls. Cab drivers speak with confidence, claiming that the limitations of Peterborough’s transit system forces residents to turn to the monopoly of these two Peterborough taxi companies.
The challenge for the city is reaching out to the mobile citizens who have a car. How many drivers would hang up the car keys for two or three days and rely on the City’s transit system? Transit usage and support by all of Peterborough can only make the city better.
A regional bus service looping in other communities around Peterborough could be operated on a dedicated schedule with boarding points, allowing riders expanded shopping districts, out-of-town family visits, and greater doctor availability.
For the taxpayer who argues that Peterborough is the same as every other Ontario city the same size, I would reply that I don’t live in any other city — I am living in Peterborough.