High tech companies support LRT: survey
CTV Southwestern Ontario
Published Monday, May 9, 2011 5:18PM EDT
A new survey by Communitech finds that the majority of Waterloo Region's tech sector is in support of light rail transit.
Following a survey of 570 of the company's 700 member companies, they found that 88 per cent believe light rail transit (LRT) is ‘very or somewhat' important to their company and coworkers.
More than half say they would use the service, 70 per cent believe it would benefit the region and 60 per cent believe it's not too early for LRT. However, only 50 per cent felt they were well-informed about LRT.
Communitech President Iain Klugman says some companies believe LRT will actually draw more tech workers to the area, where there are currently about 2,000 job openings.
"I think that it has a lot to do with the talent crunch and the expectations of knowledge workers and what they want from the kind of community they're going to pick," he says.
The results are very different from research done by a local newspaper that surveyed the general public.
The survey of over 1,000 adults showed 38 per cent supported trains, 32 per cent preferred rapid bus transit and 30 per cent would prefer road improvements to either of those options.
But Klugman says anything short of LRT won't meet the community's future needs, "There was some concern that if we don't do this now it's going to be that much more difficult, that much more expensive…in ten years time."
He adds that young high tech workers have practical reasons for preferring LRT. Some don't own a vehicle, and some don't even have a driver's licence.
Michael Litt is the co-founder of a startup company called VidYard Video. He has a car but would prefer to take the LRT between the company's two locations.
"Light rail transit would mean I could get on the train and not have to worry about being on time, and but also not have to worry about not working during that 15 to 20 minute commute."
Meanwhile Edward Wu, a tech sector worker in southern California, says light rail is a hit with his fellow tech workers.
He says, "There like 10,000 some odd people in this one complex alone and one of the stops is right outside of our building, so it's very convenient for us to hop on the light rail and take it to work and back."
Waterloo Regional Council will decide in June if the LRT plan will go ahead.