Transit Stories: from grandparents to grandkids, transit works for Robert’s family

March 5, 2015

Robert Starcevich is an Injury Adjuster at ICBC.

I live in Port Moody and I bike to work in Coquitlam. It’s 7 kilometers total, to and from work. It takes me about 20 minutes to get to work and about 40 minutes to get home—going home, my route is nearly all uphill. Since I bike to work, I enjoy my daily commute. It’s fun, and I get exercise every day. I’m really happy that the Mayors’ transit and transportation plan includes a 2,700-kilometre expansion of Metro Vancouver’s bikeways, including 300 kilometres of separated bike routes. The current cycling network in the Metro Vancouver region is good, but it has a number of gaps. Making cycling safer and a more realistic option for people like me is a good thing—it’s a great way to keep healthy.

Metro Vancouver’s public transit means a lot to my family. From an immediate, practical perspective, my parents are in their 80s so they’re limited in how much driving they can do. They prefer to avoid driving in congested areas like downtown, or driving at rush hour. They have monthly doctors appointments either on the North Short, where they live, or in downtown Vancouver, and they use the Seabus or SkyTrain whenever they can.

On a more personal note, my mom, who came to Canada from Italy as a young woman, had a beloved aunt who lived in Venice. So my mom just loves taking the Seabus from the North Shore to downtown. For her, it brings back find memories of her youth when she’d visit her aunt. When my relatives travel to the airport now they all take the SkyTrain. There’s no traffic and the ride is far less stressful or costly compared to parking and driving.

When my grandmother was still with us, she would ride the bus or SkyTrain from one end of the route to another for her own enjoyment. Just for the pure pleasure of the sights, scenes and the ride. It was what she did to stay in touch with her community and stay active, and it genuinely added to the quality of her day. She certainly wasn’t alone—other seniors use our transit system to get around and to stay connected with the world outside their homes. Some of this rubbed off on me. I used to, and still occasionally, take my kids and now my grandchildren to our end of the SkyTrain then ride the Seabus across. We’d play and have lunch at the Lonsdale Quay, finishing with a pleasant ride back. 

We’re lucky that the planners and politicians of 30 odd-years ago created this system that has been such an important part of my family’s enjoyment of Metro Vancouver. But this system isn’t meeting everyone’s needs and lacks the funding to maintain services, let alone grow. I strongly believe we should invest in transit by voting Yes in the transit referendum so my kids’ families and everyone like them gets access to a great system now, and in the future.