We Want Closer Commutes for 10,000 Drivers in BC

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Within a year, the rollout of shorter commutes could start happening for over 10,000 people in the Vancouver and Victoria metro areas. Don't let hesitant leadership delay this.

There is a plan afoot that within a year thousands of people could be offered closer commutes through an innovative employee commute trip reduction (CTR) initiative. Sign this petition to insist that the BC Government expedites implementation of a mandatory employee commute trip reduction initiative.

There's almost no cost to roll this out, with huge benefits to commuters, their families, employers, the economy and the environment. We can eliminate over 5% of all commuting miles traveled across Metro Vancouver and Greater Victoria – relieving congestion for everyone and reducing carbon emission significantly. Tell the Premier and other politicians you support this happening right away!

Sitting in traffic gridlock for hours each week? Want a closer commute? Same job, same pay, same seniority – but at a much closer worksite? Closer, greener, less expensive, more active commutes can be offered to teachers, bank employees, nurses and other health care professionals, firefighters, retail chain store associates, chain restaurant staff, laundry workers, police, IT techs, etc. – anyone working for a medium or large employer. Under the initiative, all medium and large employers will be required to take steps to shorten and/or green their employees' commutes.

Consider the potential of one CTR tactic in the education sector alone: according to Statistics Canada, there are over 17,000 teaching professionals in the Lower Mainland who currently have lengthy commutes who could swap locations with a peer so each has a closer commute. The BC Teachers' Federation (president Teri Mooring) and its union locals have endorsed a plan for "green lateral exchange/transfers between districts." A pilot project with School Districts 61, 62 & 63 was endorsed by Education Minister Rob Fleming. But the districts won't act until the Government makes this mandatory and gives the districts authority to act.

We can cut commuting traffic by over 5% within 18 months. Analysts predict that cutting traffic congestion across the Lower Mainland will boost the regional economy by hundreds of millions of dollars. That's an ROI on implementation costs of over 100 times. Finance Minister Carole James: the sooner we start, the sooner our economy and individual citizens will benefit. People with closer commutes are more likely to ditch their single-occupancy driving and switch to transit, which Translink CEO Kevin Desmond, Parliamentary Secretary for Translink Bowinn Ma, Mayors' Council Chair Jonathan Cote and Municipal Affairs Minister Selina Robinson want to happen.

By signing this petition, you are directly asking the Government to expedite the roll-out of this proven program. The "powers that be" need to hear that you are expecting prompt action:

  1. immediately commission completion of the infrastructure: the apps and toolkit,
  2. declare regulations or introduce a legislation amendment to mandate that all medium and large employers assess and report their total annual employee commuting carbon emissions (the "burden"),
  3. require all medium and large employers make "best efforts" (and report these efforts) to reduce their total employee commuting burden.

 

HERE ARE TWO STRAIGHTFORWARD WAYS THAT CABINET CAN DO TO FAST-TRACK ACTION:

  1. Cabinet can enact a Section 224 Regulation change to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation of the Workers Compensation Act to mandate that all large employers assess and implement employee commute reduction strategies. [A Section 224 Regulation was how last year Cabinet forbid employers from requiring restaurant servers to wear high heels.] WorkSafe CEO Diana Miles can ask Labour Minister Harry Bains to champion this pivotal regulation change through Cabinet, or...
  2. Cabinet can enact regulations under the Climate Change Accountability Act.

We envision Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy overseeing the completion of development on the apps and toolkits, and then the roll-out and support for all of BC's medium and large employers. 

Imagine how life will be improved for everyone when so much needless commuting is eliminated. The "Closer Commutes" tactic and other CTR tactics are straightforward for major employers to implement – this actually saves the employer money on HR expenses and boosts productivity

Everyone wins, including our environment, road safety, infrastructure capacity, and affordability. We can cut commuting traffic by over 5% within 18 months.

  • Transportation is a major contributor to BC's CO2 emissions. Let's support Environment Minister George Heyman in getting his ministry behind this.
  • Less vehicle miles traveled should also reduce the cost of accident claims for ICBC (CEO Nicolas Jimenez) which Attorney General David Eby oversees.
  • Lower transportation demand will ease pressure on infrastructure which is Transportation Minister Claire Trevena's responsibility.
  • Commuting costs and times have been shown to disproportionately affect those making lower incomes and working more than one job. This is Social Development and Poverty Reduction Minister Shane Simpson's portfolio.

Health Authorities are experiencing major problems with absenteeism and retaining staff. Health Minister Adrian Dix will appreciate that research shows people with closer commutes are healthier and less likely to leave. They are less stressed and less prone to making errors as well.

City of Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says about Closer Commutes: "This innovation has the potential for business to continue to support transportation solutions and save money/ create efficiencies/ increase employee well-being at the same time." We agree, Lisa! No comment yet from Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart.

Please sign the petition today to support positive change. Then share with your co-workers, family, neighbours – everyone you know. Let's blow this up and get to tens of thousands of signatures... to make sure we'll start seeing the first wave of the 10,000+ closer commutes in 2021.

Please sign, share and then go to closercommutes.org for more info and steps you can take.