Environmentally Responsible Transportation Solutions
Feeling trapped by higher fuel prices? You are not alone! Solutions exist, but those necessitate you making changes, showing leadership to others.
Individuals and Families
- A first start is by driving less, using “alternative” sources of travel such as taking public transit, walking or cycling (the majority of our trips are for short distances such as going to the mail box, corner store for bread/milk, work or school), joining a car share cooperative (share the costs, not necessarily the vehicle!), working from home (where feasible), car pooling(trips for you or your kids), having groceries delivered to your home, etc.
- The second step is to work with other organizations to change the current set-up. The sad fact is that governments and businesses have designed our infrastructure so that we will be largely dependent on the private automobile.Urban sprawl, scattering the services away from residential areas, lack of bicycle pathways, poor public transportation, destruction of railway tracks and transportation corridors, and the heavy tax-payer subsidisation of the roadways (to name some of the factors) have resulted in very poorly designed cities and transportation networks. This is not your fault. Feeling guilty about driving your car won’t help! Write letters to governments (don’t mind their trivial replies; each letter is worth 1000 votes and so they count all of them). Write letters to the papers. Join worthy organizations (see below).
- Talk with others and explore alternatives. “Think outside of the box.” Rather than go to your groceries, for example, why not have them delivered to you? Work with your neighbours to bring a car share co-op car nearby (see links). Rather than die early due to a lack of exercise and natural light, why not cycle, walk, or use public transportation more often? Be a part of the change. Real solutions exist. Just ask.
Businesses typically spend a large portion of their income on transportation, getting around to see clients, delivering goods and services, and picking up materials.
- Updating your fleet to higher efficiency equipment
- Providing a supervised/controlled/reservation carpool
- Adapt/convert vehicles to accept and run on alternative/sustainable renewable energy resources such as duel fuels (hybrid vehicles) bio-diesel fuels, electricity, hydrogen, compressed air, stored solar energy, etc., and running your refrigeration units on electricity when parked at the loading bay.
- Using hybrids for the bulk of travel
- Most importantly to provide “Drive Smart” driver training to all staff. It includes defensive driving habit training but most importantly how to drive “smart” to conserve fuel/energy, brakes, and the overall drive train of the vehicle as well as training staff how to conserve and protect the environment by performing frequent tire checks, circle checks and the avoidance of unnecessary idling.
- Providing bicycle/scooter racks for employees/customers
- Provide recharging stations for company, employee, and customer hybrid and electric vehicles. These could be controlled by the need to use preauthorized company cards or credit/debit or purchased cards.
By involving our services your investments will more than pay for themselves through government incentives and lowered energy bills. Ask us how to get started!
Here are some great transportation links you may wish to check out:
Better Environmentally Sound Transportation
Since 1991, BEST has been offering innovative programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, and to inform people about the environmental, health and community issues surrounding transportation. Our programs encourage and motivate people to cycle, walk, carpool, and use public transit more often.
BEST champions clean air, safer neighbourhoods, and environmentally friendly transportation choices. We work with individuals and community leaders to bring about the changes that will contribute to a better quality of life for people and communities in the Lower Mainland.
Between towns and cities on Vancouver Island there are two bus companies, Tofino Bus Lines and Island Express. Tofino bus has full-sized buses; Island Express has large vans. Each have their benefits. Island Express is usually faster and travels only between the major centres. Tofino Bus is usually less expensive and services more places.
Pacific Coach Lines has a 5 times daily service between Nanaimo, Duke Point, Tsawwassen, and YVR. Convenient transfers can occur from the Nanaimo Regional bus for those coming to/from Parksville and Qualicum Beach.
In Nanaimo, the bus stops at Woodgrove, Country Club, and the Prideaux Street “depot”. A cheaper alternative is to take the bus to the Departure Bay ferry, take the ferry to Horseshoe Bay, jump on to the frequent express city buses to downtown and then take the Skytrain service to the airport (or elsewhere).
Convert your existing vehicle to all electric!
Island Transformations – “Choosing our future”
Island Transformations is a coalition which supports a plan for a dynamic transformation of the lives of Vancouver Islanders.
Our Shared Vision
- An enhanced quality of life that ensures a sustainable, healthy, safe environment and nurtures a diverse and flourishing cultural mosaic.
- A sustainable economy that encourages prosperity for all and enhances human dignity through community and individual enterprise.
Energy Solutions for Vancouver Island (ESVI)
ESVI seeks to pursue and promote solutions for meeting Vancouver Island’s energy needs in socially and environmentally responsible ways so as to facilitate economic and social development, and to support and promote energy conservation efforts on Vancouver Island.
Concerns about the safety of riding a bicycle
If you stopped using one car you would save yourself thousands of dollars each year, feel better, and lower your emissions by a few tons a year. Wouldn’t this be better than feeling guilty and being broke?
Share the expenses of operating a vehicle, but use the car when you need it. (Car-riding or car pooling is when several people all ride together; see below)
In Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo the rapidly growing Modo can provide you with a vehicle at a very reasonable cost. They have vehicles located at all ferry terminals, too! You must first become a member.
Are you a member of the Coastal Community Credit Union? You can join Modo for just half the capital cost (only $250)!
Bonus Reciprocal agreements with other carshare co-ops are in place, allowing you to be a member of one and use vehicles of another co-op!
British Columbian’s are very fortunate to have a very viable way of moving commuters from one city to another. The Jack Bell Foundation has many vans available for those who regularly commute between cities and various communities. And they sponsor a way to hook up with others who are already using their own vehicles.
Car pooling happens less formally when people organise rides to common destinations. Way more fun, way cheaper (even if you pay for someone else’s gas), better for the environment, and helps to lower the price of fuel!
Don’t want to spend half your day being a virtual taxi-driver for your kids? Help them to organise car pooling to their sport and other activities!
Do you believe that the Island railway offers an important part of the solution to transportation? Railways are far more energy efficient, environmentally superior, and a safer method of transporting goods and people. Unfortunately they fall under federal jurisdiction (highways are a provincial responsibility), and so have fallen way behind what other industrialized countries have.
Do you want to support the revitalization of the Island railway? It is now a public railway, but needs major investment from governments in order to remove traffic from the highway and add efficient commuter services. Consider becoming a member of the Friends of the Island Corridor. Check them out at Island Corridor Foundation.
The more supporters they have the more likely they will get the assistance required to make Vancouver Island a better place in which to live and to do business.
Not all cargo has to be carried by cars, buses, trucks, trains, etc. If a bike trailer is designed well it can carry up to 800 pounds (362 KG) of bulky things! This shop ships from Vancouver Island, making trailers that don’t negatively impact your balance or manoeuvrability. Cargo Bicycle Trailers