Higher Gas Prices Creates a Need For Better Public Transit in Rural NL

Reading an article on CBC.ca found here makes the following statement:

CIBC Economics, the economics arm of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, said higher pump prices for all of 2011 would translate into $950 getting sucked out of each Canadian household to feed their cars and trucks.

Escalating gas prices appear to be commonplace even in a country such as Canada that is rich with oil. I remember maybe 15 years ago when gasoline was 56.9 cents per litre with full-service on the Great Northern Peninsula in Northern Newfoundland. The price of gasoline has been constantly increasing during this winter, currently at $1.40 per litre self-service. 

I live in a rural area, commuting 50 km each way to work or some 500 km each week. There are limited options for me, but to absorb this additional cost and pay the projected $950 per year. However, the high price at the pumps have a domino effect on all other goods as they need to be transported to the rural area. The small business owner will face increased costs and ultimately have to pass these on to the end-consumer. It will not be much longer that this $950 becomes a much larger cost to my wallet.

The Provincial Government greatly benefits from increases gasoline prices, since consumer’s have limited alternatives when it comes to public transit and continue to pay at the pumps. The Capital City and Corner Brook does have some bus service, but rural regions have limited long-distance busing to connect us to larger centers. Most communities on the Great Northern Peninsula are so geographically distanced that bicycle use would only be feasible for very short distances and only during ideal weather conditions.

Consumer’s pay a $0.10 Federal Gas Tax Levy plus Provincially we pay some of the highest rates in the country with a $0.165 Provincial Gas Tax Levy + a 13% Harmonized Sales Tax. We are constantly being gauged, with little relief. The Provincial Government should reduce their levy or at least re-invest a portion of this money spent at the pump to implementing better local public transit.

When I lived in Europe, during 2007 I did not rent a car once. I often opted to walk or take a bus, tram, underground rail car or train. There were so many low costs alternatives. Even when I lived in Edmonton, Alberta, I always used a combination of walking and bus route to work each day. Canada needs to place greater emphasis on high-speed trains in concentrated urban centres, such as connections between Edmonton and Calgary, as well as Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto.

Rural regions need solutions as well, such as RIDE SHARE – Drivers & passengers sharing rides to work, school and events  – saving money, time, gas, and the environment. The Provincial Government needs to work with smaller Municipalities to create an interface that will help solve continued transportation woes.

 If there are readers out there that would like to consider a RIDE SHARE, I would be happy to commute. Whether to work or longer distance drives.

Live Rural NL 0

Christopher Mitchelmore

One comment

Leave a Reply