It has been many years since my last letter but as a long time (30-plus years) bus rider, I am compelled to express my thoughts on the mall bus issue. To quote from page one of the rider’s guide/bus schedule: “Decisions on fares, routes and service levels are made by local governments based on recommendations by the West Kootenay Transit Committee (made up of local government representatives), based on public feedback and information provided by BC Transit.”
Public feedback to me entails face-to-face meetings between bus riders and transit. To date, such meetings haven’t occurred. Rather there have been petitions, letters and phone calls from concerned and upset bus passengers to the owner and manager of the mall, Val Warmington (transit rep on city council) and our local transit representative.
When I spoke to Gerry Tennant at Nelson Transit, he said the issue was one of safety, namely when the buses would drop off and pick up riders at the side of the main roadway. Fair enough, everyone wants to ensure passenger safety although a person does wonder why the practice continued for years without any safety concerns.
There is a solution that would allow the bus stop to remain at Save-On-Foods. The buses in question, the reverse Fairview and incoming North Shore, could travel behind the mall, along in front of Walmart and on to Save-On-Foods. Then they could turn down through the road between the parking spots and carry on past the Prestige. This shouldn’t be considered unsafe because semi trucks who unload at Save-On go this same route.
Most people grocery shop last and now they must go the entire length of the mall to catch the bus. At the old stop they waited inside until a few minutes before their bus arrived. Plus, in the evenings (except Thursday and Friday nights) the inside mall gates are closed so people at Save-On have to walk outside to get the bus by Walmart.
As a bus passenger I, and others, expect to be treated in a decent and respectful manner. However, no meetings for direct dialogue indicates to me that my opinions and ideas can be easily dismissed. It is past time to show respect for bus riders who help pay the salaries of transit people and aid our environment by putting fewer cars on the road.
So, let’s slow down and consider other solutions that don’t compromise the convenience, comfort and safety of bus passengers.
Elaine Langlois, Nelson