In this instalment of View from the President’s Window, Capilano U President Kris Bulcroft shares her experience with public transportation and how it has enriched her life.
I have come to know many people in this wonderful city since moving to North Vancouver in July 2010. In this city, I have experienced many cultural events, dined in some fine and not-so-fine restaurants, walked many paths and trails with my dog, shopped and banked and received health care. I feel so fortunate to be a part of this community. But as the writer, Erol Ozan, says: “You can’t understand a city without using its public transportation system.”
I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. I use the transportation system in Metro Vancouver because nothing connects me better to this city than the vast system of public transportation serving the millions of people who call this city home. I have used the public transportation systems wherever I have lived—in Dar es Salaam, Bratislava, Bellingham and Lugano. My experiences reflect the vast differences in the cost, efficiency, safety and general ambiance of public transportation systems around the world. For me, the unifying truth is that all of the trains, buses, ferries, flat-bed trucks, vans and funicular railways I have ridden have taught me more about those cities than anything else. No matter what the form of transportation, public transit provides the opportunity to observe and interact with the people who are the heart of any city.
Capilano students are often surprised to see me on the #239 bus as I travel from my home in Lonsdale to the university. One incredulous alumni approached me as I boarded the SeaBus one afternoon and asked: “Dr. Bulcroft, what are you doing taking public transit?” To which I replied, “The same thing you are doing… getting from point A to point B.” I often ask fellow passengers on the #239 if they are students at Cap (the probability is high they are) and often, we have an opportunity to talk about their programs of study, why they chose Cap, their career goals, their favorite instructors and classes. I have learned a lot in those conversations. I think a public transit journey is more than just getting from point A to point B—it provides a chance to connect and increase our understanding of each other and our community.
Public transit is vital for students who need to get to school, to part-time jobs and to go on to pursue career opportunities. Transit is strongly linked to our economy as it enables access to education, training, income and employment.
With Metro Vancouver’s Transit and Transportation Referendum just around the corner, I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the proposed transportation investment plan so that you can make an informed choice when voting takes place from March 16 to May 29, 2015.
I have to admit that I do not take the #239 every single day. Some days you will see me in my Prius instead. But on those driving days I always feel I am missing out on the chance to really connect with this amazing place and be a part of something greater than what is inside the four doors of my car.
Submitted by Kris Bulcroft, Capilano U President