Nearly 100 residents of Ymir Road, Perrier Road and Perrier Lane have signed a petition urging the City of Nelson and the RDCK to reinstate public bus service to their area.
“Residents of this area believe that the service would greatly improve their safe and reliable access to the city and provincial services based there,” reads the Oct. 8 letter.
“It is important to note that the above mentioned area has grown considerably in the years since the service was discontinued and we believe reinstating the service will significantly benefit the current residents as well as the city,” it reads.
Mayor John Dooley was not aware of the petition when first contacted by the Star, but said when the most recent assessment of ridership demand by BC transit was done, the area didn’t make the cut.
“It’s a system that’s always open to adjustments, but we have to do it within this current model that exists. We’d have to build a case for BC transit, the operator of the system, to add an additional route.”
Changes like this are routinely made. Some recent additions include a connecting bus between Nelson, Castlegar and Trail, a new route in the Slocan Valley and an adjustment in the schedule while Selkirk College classes are in session.
“Some people would suggest that there was a route there before, that’s true. But during the last analysis of the municipal transit system, ridership was very low and higher demand was in other areas,” he said.
Dooley said the existing system is a vast improvement from the one of years past.
“We literally had bus stops without people standing at them for years. The whole system was reviewed from top to bottom. We have to put the inventory into areas where we have the demand, and that’s what happened.”
The petition letter states that many residents in the Perrier Road area cannot drive to town due to disabilities, while some cannot afford their own vehicle.
Others have expressed concern about “saving the environment” as a reason to use a bus service, if it were available.
“We would like to close by noting that for some, walking is a pleasurable alternative to a personal vehicle, on some occasions, but inclement weather, carrying groceries or books, and/or pushing a baby buggy makes walking an unsuitable default option for getting to town,” it reads.
The letter also expresses concern about the intersection of Highway 6/3A is “at best unfriendly” when approaching from the south.