I have just returned from the August 2 town council meeting. It was the first meeting that I have been able to attend where the newly implemented ‘public dialog with council” has been in effect. Three individuals had the opportunity to discuss a variety of issues with the members of council in a public form prior to the regularly scheduled council meeting.
It is unfortunate that these discussions are not part of the public transcripts of council meetings. One issue that was brought up was the question of the large amount of CO2 being generated by the trolley and how does this large amount of carbon being added to the air we breath compare to any offset in carbon reduction from cars being taken off the road by any of the riders.
I believe that most if not all the councillors recognize that the trolley as it is presently being supported by the public is not reducing greenhouse gases.
Data indicates that we generate an excessive amount of carbon from the trolley because it is really a 32-seat bus.
The trolley consumes about 37 liters of diesel per 100 km and the average number of people on the trolley at any one time is about 2.5.
Too often it runs empty or with only one or two riders.
Members of council rightly pointed out that the trolley has social benefits that should be weighted when evaluating the value of the trolley and the transit system.
They feel that it performs an important community service. Many of the trolley’s critics appreciate the intent of the service, but they question the value of it in it’s present format, especially with its high cost along with it’s negative environmental impact.
My I be so bold as to suggest a compromise that can help reduce the unacceptable production of greenhouse gases and yet still accomplish many of the social goals that council would like to see.
Park the trolley, until there is an increased demand for service. Once the demand is there then re-establish the 32-seat bus.
In the meanwhile, rent a nine-passenger gas van equipped with a wheelchair ramp that meets the present demand for service.
The fuel savings alone will go a long way to pay for the rent on the van. The small van using the less polluting gas will significantly reduce the amount of CO2 produced, and can be seen as a constructive step in reducing greenhouse gases rather than a significant pollution generator.