White Rock – The Editor, I am writing this letter to voice my opinion and concerns and also those of many White Rock residents who use the transit system, regarding the issue of reduced service on the community shuttle buses.
I moved to the White Rock area from the east coast at the beginning of August and was thrilled that this wonderful commuter service was available. Shortly after, I was shocked to see the signs of the reduced service posted on some bus stop poles and wondered how the "powers that be" came to the conclusion that this service needed to be reduced – certainly not by riding the shuttle buses and observing the seniors, tourists, workers, moms and schoolchildren who use this service!
And if they relied on the Compass Card information (as I was told by one bus driver) to base their decision on, it’s not really accurate. I was told the purpose of tapping the card when you get on, and also tapping when you get off, was supposed to provide data
as to how often and where this transit service was used. During my frequent use of the shuttle buses, only twice did I see anyone tap off when they left the bus. I myself have forgotten to tap off at least 90 per cent of the time, and almost no one taps off upon exiting. It’s hard to base decisions on that type of data, which is not accurate.
Since moving here, I have realized that White Rock is a city of extreme slopes and steep roads, all in a very concentrated area. This is not typical of other Translink service areas and should be a factor in decision-making.
With these new schedules, it is now more difficult to make connections and also the buses are fuller. A missed connection now is not just over an hour wait but also can translate to a missed appointment.
I realize that this decision to reduce schedules was based on some type of statistical data regarding ridership. However, beyond the paper facts, there is a humanity involved – the same people who create a wonderful place to call home and attract others to visit this wonderful charming little city. Sometimes it’s not about "bottom line" decisions but doing what is "morally right."
I invite those who make the decisions to come and actually see for themselves how these reduced services are affecting the residents of White Rock, many of them seniors. Oh, and did I mention that winter is coming and that some of these two-hour waits will take place in wet, cold, windy and slippery conditions?