By 'Editor, LDSCaNews'
Lethbridge Member Fights City Council, Now Happy
LETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA, CANADA -- Just before Christmas last year, the
City of Lethbridge announced transit cutbacks which shocked many of
the local residents. Only 18 months after increasing the bus fares
from 1.35$ to 1.50$, city council would be raising the fares to
1.65$. In addition, they revealed that six months later, route
frequencies would drop from every 20 minutes to every forty minutes.
In a city where roughly 17% of the population are post-secondary
students, this would have dramatic effects on how people travelled to
school and to work. Many riders used the system to get to work or to
drop off children at day care.
Mary Siever was one of many residents who decided not to take it
sitting down. With her one year-old daughter snug in a sling over her
shoulder, Siever, a member of the Lethbridge Alberta West Stake,
braved the February cold to start passing out petitions and gathering
Her efforts began to snowball. Student union presidents at both the
University of Lethbridge and the Lethbridge Community College got
involved and distributed her petitions throughout their institutions.
Other residents began circling their own petitions.
The Lethbridge Herald ran a story about Siever, and it caught the eye
of then president of the local transit union, Rick Siebert. After
meeting with Siever, he helped organise a three hour meeting with
council to discuss the transit cutbacks. In an effort to make the
public heard, Siebert organised free bus service to the city hall
that evening. Sixty citizens took advantage of it.
City council went ahead with the cutbacks, but starting this past
September returned to 20 minute service. Transit manager Tom Hopkins
told the Lethbridge Herald in its most recent article covering the
ongoing saga that the service had been reinstated because of the
considerable amount of feedback from riders last summer.
Siever is pleased at the positive step council has taken by bringing
service time to spring levels. While admitting that it's not perfect,
she realises that it has to start somewhere. And how does she feel
about what she helped create?
"You can't expect change to happen if you don't speak up."
Lethbridge Herald, 06Dec2000
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