As Halifax is in the midst of its first transit strike in 14 years, first since I’ve been here, and there’s an immediate noticeable difference once you step through the door. First there’s the effect on traffic, no buses and more cars. Therefore, more traffic. Next, if you’re like me, you do rely on the public transit system to some degree. While I do live within what I consider to be walking distance from the places I need to be (work and school are within a 40-minute walking radius of my house), I do tend to use the buses for timing purposes.
Another instantly noticeable thing for anyone that views Facebook or Twitter are the number of comments from locals. The ones I find most alarming and often downright silly that those that are so incredibly misinformed and just plain wrong. Now, I’ll admit I’m not the most informed when it comes to most issues. I consider myself to be on an average scale as far as knowing what’s actually going on with most issues. At times I consider myself so oblivious to something that if it catches my attention, everyone should already know as much as I do. So when I read comments like ones I’ve seen, I’m floored by their ignorance.
Faux pas #1: It’s about the money. Not really. One of the things that I have read in statements from representatives of the drivers is that it’s not about the money or wanting a raise but merely about job security. Of course, when someone says the word “strike”, the weak-minded will immediately shout that it’s about the money. It’s a cop-out reason to justify why you disagree with the strike. Just admit you know nothing about the strike, you’re selfish and that the drivers should be serving your needs before putting their own family’s first.
Faux pas #2: They run an essential service and shouldn’t be allowed to strike. I’m certainly not pleased that there’ll be a strike but when you really think about it, is anyone? Though when I think about what it would be like if the situations were reversed, most of us would be pretty angry if our employers came to us and told us they are cutting our hours, telling us we can only work part time so won’t qualify for benefits and that seniority means nothing anymore. The difference is, most of the people bitching wouldn’t have the option to fight back but if they did, they certainly would. But then, what would the rest of us do? Where would we get our coffee, prescription drugs and clothes? The coffee shops are gone, fast food is shut down, drug stores are closed and shopping malls are locked. Plus, correct me if I’m wrong but while on strike, aren’t the drivers still supposed to show up anyway and “walk the picket line”?
Essentially, my point is that I’m amazed at how much perspective so many people lack on something that is relatively simple if you spend more than the reactionary 10 seconds thinking about it. Money isn’t everything and I think it can be argued that job security might be more important. That’s what they’re fighting for. In that case, that’s what I’m supporting. Because I know if I were in that position, I would feel the same way.
However, if there’s one good thing that can come from this transit strike is that for those in support of the argument that more public transportation equals less traffic, that’ll be proven this week. If it were summer, you’d also likely be seeing more walkers and bikers as well. But it’s not so instead there are efforts put forth to try to organize a carpooling system through social networking sites. Good luck, transit users! Now I just hope it doesn’t rain before I have to leave and walk…