December 3rd, 2020

City’s transit system ranks as a top polluter

By Letter to the Editor on November 11, 2020.

Can anyone pollute more than the City of Lethbridge?

If you consider the amount of greenhouse gases created to transport persons in the Lethbridge Transit system, it is essentially impossible for anyone in Canada to produce greater carbon footprints per person than our nearly empty bus parade (City Transit). Here is why the City is one of Canada’s top polluters.

No private transportation company can pollute at the City’s level since they have to be financially viable to survive. Survival in the private sector is only possible when there is sufficient ridership (hence lower carbon emissions per person) to create the revenue to fund the operation. With bus occupancy levels low (probably less than 10 per cent), the transit system survives primarily with taxation dollars.

The only possible entity that can pollute at our level or worse would have to be another public transit system using diesel buses and having an occupancy level even less than ours. It is difficult for a city to have a greater vacancy rate than ours. Hence Lethbridge is on the leaderboard of Canada’s worst transportation polluters.

At this point in time, any non public ride agency would be providing transportation to Lethbridge individuals with a lower carbon footprint than City Transit. So if you are inclined to be environmentally responsible, using the City’s transit system should be your last choice if other ride options are not available.

It matters that we have circulating empty buses, because they function only to convert tax dollars into greenhouse gas emissions.

One is pessimistic that anyone at city hall will develop an environmental conscience and protect the Earth from our transit system. Presently forcing the taxpayers to fund environmental damage is seen as an acceptable practice.

Irwin Olfert


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What do you suggest? Free taxi rides for everyone? Taxpayer funded of course


Exactly, jonbacc. Transit is mainly about accessibility. I read some time ago that an average North American walks less than 2 km per week. Maybe we can get rid of sidewalk’s while we’re at it.

Also, if a person is going to write a letter like this, they should make the effort to find actual ridership stats. Is it less than 10%? What is the variance?


It currently is 22%. That’s the fact. Now you are current.


Thank you, buckwheat. Is that 22% on average, all routes, all day? How does that compare to, say, Calgary, I wonder?


While I appreciate your concerns, public transit is largely about offering a way for people of limited means, especially those with disabilities, affordable transportation and sense of some autonomy. Taxi’s and Uber get expensive (my last taxi ride across town was $30 not counting tip), and reserve a ride systems require advanced planning and scheduling that does not allow people to come and go as they please without 24 hour notice.
I understand the concerns, both envrionmental and financial, but without buses, people such as myself either have to pay a lot of money we don’t have to get around, rely on the good will of friends, or stay trapped in our homes. I’m open to alternatives, but I doubt the cab comapnies want to offer steep disability discounts.


Traffic lights that do not allow traffic to flow are where the biggest amount of GHG’s are discharged into the atmosphere! How many traffic lights does it take to get to Superstore from downtown? At least 6 most of the time and that is a lot of starting and stopping. Now imagine the lights on Highway 3 and 43rd street. Hunderds of semi-trucks starting and stopping everyday, spewing large amounts of diesel fumes into the atmosphere. Our buses are low emission buses, compared to those jacked up pick-up trucks with the after market exhausts that spew clouds of black soot when they accelerate loudly away.
Traffic is not allowed to flow in Lethbridge and it appears that someone wants to restrict flow further by shutting down flow further by closing or cutting lanes on 3rd avenue south and 13 street north, as just two examples.
But one thing for sure . . . they love to put up traffic lights!


The question is carbon tax what amount does the City pay for all buses and all city facilities like Casa , City hall, arena’s etc the City Council approves but not quoted by Finance. How about $800,000. new City buses plus charging infrastructure. The low sulphur diesel buses cost less to operate than the Hybrid models (City documents).


Good point – the City should look to install more traffic circles! At least on 43rd St, they may be difficult to fit in on Mayor Magrath with 6 lanes.


It’s unfortunate that the environmental crowd who were just brought before city council for their two bits on the greening of Lethbridge didn’t bring this up. This is a glaring spot on their plastic bag green movement. They should address this. Environment Lethbridge gets big money from us every year, dig your teeth into this issue and come up with a “green” solution instead of expecting everyone to adopt and adapt to your idealism.


Again with the ‘idealism’. What does that even mean to you? And what ‘green solution’ do you expect in a city with a hundred years of infrastructure premised on the automobile? If I were as powerful as Environment Lethbridge, I would shut down all of the roads to cars – only allow pedestrians, bikes, and toboggans (for the West Siders).


haha, fes!
in a better world, and city, the only private modes of transit would be human powered. this would in turn necessitate the creation of an efficient public transit network that would serve us all very well. public transit could take the form of fast rail service as well, just like much of europe enjoys. trips to calgary and edmonton would be far quicker, and the system could be expanded east and west throughout the country. perhaps we could consider raising the buses a few feet, if not the trains, for nothing other than to make the big lift pick up trucker yahoos feel right at home.
i am left to ask the inventive writer, who has twisted the usefulness of mass transit into utter nonsense, whether he has considered how inefficient and polluting private vehicles are, and the level at which each owner, most often driving alone, pollutes?
as for the fools that dismiss ideas of better ways as “idealism”, how is it better that we stay stuck in worse practices, and particularly when we know better?

Last edited 19 days ago by biff

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