A recently reduced shuttle schedule for non-peak hours takes its toll

LETTERS: Darker days for senior bus riders

Editor:

Re: Increased concern over reduced bus service, Sept. 16.

Editor:

Re: Increased concern over reduced bus service, Sept. 16.

With little notice – just notices pinned up on some of the bus stops – the C51, C52 and C53 shuttles became every hour from every half hour, each day between the hours of 9 p.m. and 3 a.m.

Some people unknowingly waited for the bus that never came, and in confusion would miss the next one, or the next one would be full and leave them behind.

As this is a community of predominantly the elderly, and the east side of White Rock is only serviced by C51 and C53, it is of great concern for me and all the elders.

I understand that Mayor Wayne Baldwin, our representative for TransLink, didn’t know this was happening until told by another community member and user of the system. This is very confusing.

As a non-driving member of this community, using 51, 53 and sometimes 52 daily, I have to tell you this is a disaster waiting to happen when the weather changes.

There are many elderly and disabled using these buses. They are a lifeline to town and to the magnificent,  and otherwise inaccessible, waterfront.

We travel on the buses because we choose not to drive, cannot afford to drive or are unable to drive anymore. This means most of us are using the buses to get into town for appointments, hospital, shopping, pleasure and to connect with other services. This means we can be carrying shopping, using walkers, sticks, motorized vehicles, wheelchairs and the families with push-chairs and little children.

I feel that a large part of the population using these buses are in jeopardy because of this. I think some of the elders are physically, mentally and emotionally not going to be able to handle it when the weather changes. This will increase the toll on the health services and, in some cases, mean moving to care homes.

I don’t want to be housebound, and many around me tell me they are housebound without use of the bus, dependent on others to see they make appointments and get out at all. I feel this is cruel after people have spent a lifetime raising families. They want to be independent as long as possible yet are penalized by reductions in services like this.

Sheila Swift, White Rock

• • •

TransLink is a dirty word around here, as bus service is curtailed and hourly service in “non-peak hours” is substituted in the guise of economy.

Once upon a time, the purpose of public transit was created for the convenience of the public.

Now, this unelected corporation specializes in running the system for its own benefit.

TransLink’s statistics do not measure inconvenience.

Users south of the Fraser have long been discriminated against by the transit system, as there are no apparent plans to create a fast link from Surrey/White Rock to the rest of the Lower Mainland. Ever-changing bus service is deemed to be enough to keep south Fraser riders off balance and, ignoring the fastest growth area in the GVRD, the “adjustments” keep on coming.

The poor service has drastically impacted the senior-care workers who travel by public transit to care for their clients at any hour and statistics don’t reflect this sector. Because of this, I have opted to drive my caregiver rather than have her waiting on the sidelines for a bus that may or may not timely appear each hour.

This ‘hourly service’ only works if the buses run according to the published schedule. If a bus is a bit early and missed, it is an hour-plus wait resulting in both lost income time and discomfort. Users are left exposed when winter arrives as there are few bus shelters for protection.

South Fraser needs to opt out of TransLink and create its own transit authority suited to the needs of the growing population who, to date, have been badly served.

Don Robertson, White Rock

 

 

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