Re: Debate grows over long buses, Oct. 23 letters.
I am writing to offer some thoughts regarding the frankly shocking letters agreeing with Coun. Louise Hutchinson about large buses in White Rock (White Rock ‘no place for big buses,’ Oct. 16).
High-school students, university students, tourists, seniors and other citizens – who have neither the means nor the money to drive – rely on this bus. What is unfortunately obvious is that those clamouring to get the 351 out of White Rock are free from such limitations.
What is more, opposition to the presence of the 351 in White Rock is selfish and shortsighted. Not only do they offer no alternative for those that need the 351, but they also demonstrate a worrying lack of understanding of the consequences of moving it out of White Rock.
The 351, leaving as often as every 15 minutes, is often so full that people are left behind and must wait for the next one. Even if only a third or a half begin to drive instead, how much more congested would our streets be with this many more cars? How much more pollution would these cars put into the air?
In short, such condemnation of public transit in South Surrey and White Rock demonstrates not only shocking privilege and lack of social awareness, but also selfishness. The fact is these buses are necessary, but Hutchinson and her supporters will only complain about the congestion and pollution that affects them. Some even go as far as to use hyperbole and misinformation – one letter that describes the sound of the buses as “jet planes,” and living on Thrift Avenue as comparable to “huff(ing) diesel smoke” comes immediately to mind.
Perhaps a trip on the bus would do them some good.
Angus McWalter, Surrey
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Letter-writer Susan Ellis says: “We do need these buses. I use the 351 bus to get to Vancouver – it is easier and less polluting than driving.” I agree completely.
I also need the 351. It seats at least 45 persons. Would Coun. Louise Hutchinson like to stand near 152 Street and observe one “great, big, long” bus go by; or watch and wait while 45 cars drive by?
I’m presuming Hutchinson drives a car. I challenge her to give up driving her car for six months. Start right now, in the rainy season.
Without a car, and needing to stand outside in the rain and fresh air at the bus stop with her trusty umbrella, she will be happy to see a bus approaching. Hopping into the warm, cozy bus, she will meet a friendly professional driver who will provide her with a safe and reliable trip to her destination. Then, when she becomes a bus rider, she will discover a ‘whole new world’ of public transit; and will be more able to understand why we need buses.
Marge Lightfoot, Surrey
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Those who complain about the negative impact of buses on the community are invariably those who never take a bus trip. Many people, however, rely on buses.
To mention some, we are: students; people in wheelchairs; people using walkers; people with luggage, going to or from the airport; people with grocery carts; seniors; bicyclists; regular or shift workers; parents with children, some in strollers; non-locals attending events in our community; people concerned about the impact on the environment; and people who can’t afford a vehicle.
The smaller buses do not have the capacity to take many passengers with special requirements. Even the larger buses can be stretched beyond their capabilities. It is not unusual on the route between Crescent Beach and White Rock to have allocated seating areas occupied.
With regard to M. Holloway’s letter to the editor:
The onus is on potential residents to fully research the area in which they wish to live. Thrift Avenue is a heavily-used, central east-west core route carrying many kinds of vehicular traffic all through the day and night.
I, too, live on Thrift Avenue, with a bus stop across the street, another one half a block away and the end-of-line stop for the non-351 buses a block away. The sound of traffic is one of the sounds of city life.
Simply because Thrift is not a business corridor does not mean residents living on or near it do not need the buses. There are numerous multi-unit buildings with a higher density of population requiring bus service. South of Thrift are even more multi-unit buildings.
Those who live on that steep hill have already spent significant effort getting to Thrift. Moving the route farther away would cause additional problems for us.
A. Helps, White Rock
Noise, pollution, vibration
Thank you, letter-writer M. Hollaway and Coun. Louise Hutchinson, for your comments regarding the buses in White Rock. I totally agree with what you have said.
I also live on Thrift and Blackwood, and have the same issues with the noise coming from the air brakes and engine acceleration, pollution in the form of black diesel smoke and vibration on the condo.
We have always had the 351 running along Thrift with no problem, but the issues for me have started since the Surrey buses were moved onto Thrift. These buses are usually empty and speed down Thrift.
I feel that we live at a bus depot, with the amount of buses going by every five to 10 minutes, all day long!
As you say, this is purely residential and these buses have no place running in this area. Its becoming a health issue for people living on Thrift and Oxford.
L. Gartland, White Rock