The Northeast Avalon region of the province is in need of a modern public transportation system. A robust public transportation system is important in regional economic development, for a number of reasons, not limited to:
From a green economy perspective, an effective public transportation network has significant environmental advantages. According to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Climate Change Action Plan (2011), transportation is responsible for 31% of the province’s carbon emissions. Emissions from road transportation, such as passenger vehicles and heavy trucks, account for approximately 70% of those emissions. With much of the province’s population living in the Northeast Avalon region, there is an opportunity to reduce emissions through the implementation of stronger public transportation systems in the region. In addition, increased use of public transportation reduces the land use pressures imposed by passenger vehicle use on municipalities – e.g. parking spaces, more and wider roads.
Provincial leadership is required to move this issue forward. Despite continued public interest, municipalities in the region have been unwilling or unable to work together on public transportation strategy, and may not be considering the entire region’s interests in their positions. The approach by the service provider in St. John’s (Metrobus) of attempting to grow services from the capital city outwards has proven to be unsuccessful. As in other Canadian jurisdictions, provincial government leadership is needed to establish and support a regional public transportation service.