Signs that Car Free Day is now more than just a grassroots movement: major transit lines are now a major part of the day.
It’s a far cry from Toronto’s first Car Free Day on September 22, 2001. Then, at least at my university, it was mostly marked by hippie zeolot types scrawling “Car Free Day!” in chalk all over campus and little else.
Now, though, most transit companies are on board, so to speak: in honour of Car Free Day, VIA Rail is offering a 50% discount on any comfort class ticket bought between September 15 and September 22.
The tickets are good for travel between any two stations on the Quebec City-Windsor corridor, and between September 22 and October 9, and between October 14 and December 14.
The ticket discount is an ideal PR tool for VIA. True, unlike most corporations, going green certainly benefits their bottom line. But encouraging the use of public transit in the name of the planet is a win-win situation all around-for VIA, its stakeholders and the environment.
I like how the tickets are valid for more than just Car Free Day. Few people travel between Toronto and Quebec City on a daily basis, and having several weeks available for ticket use emphasizes the fact that people should reduce their car dependencies on more than just one day.
But then, why no perks from the transit system that most people do use on a daily basis?
I speak, of course, of the TTC, which moves over 1.4 million Torontonians every day. It’s one of the busiest transit systems in the country-so why not reward those riders for doing their part for the environment with a discount on September 22?
Aside from encouraging riders to take the TTC to Car Free Day events at Dundas Square, there’s not much else.
VIA has been a sponsor of the last few Car Free Days. So have Bombardier and Greyhound. It’s too bad such a well-used system like the TTC couldn’t find a way to lend its support.