I was at the Jan 6 open house on the city’s budget discussions and questioned the $200,000 increase to Penticton and its transit system.
This has actually been passed on to Penticton by BC Transit, as per Mayor Aston’s comment on Jan 6. Also, I was corrected, and the increase is actually $20,000. Although one person at the council table quoted $120,000, which was corrected with the $20,000 figure. This actually makes it even worse, in my estimate, as $20,000 is comparatively minor to $200,000.
As I have observed, many (if not most, that I see) either use the BC Bus Pass (poor seniors getting GIS, or those under 65 and subsisting on a B.C. disability pension), monthly passes (secondary or college), with a few paying in cash.
Another comment by city councillors is that the buses are underused. If a person attempts to plan their day’s activities on an hourly bus service, I expect that this might push them to resort to other measures, such as walking, thumbing a ride, car pooling, riding a bike, or going into debt and buying a car.
I understand that Penticton’s new buses are mid-sized, and having ridden on Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and London (UK) buses, I would agree. Even though there was hardly any room today, with two wheelchairs, an assistant dog and numerous passengers at 4 p.m., going for smaller buses would be a great disservice to the people of the Penticton community. I see a wonderful caring group of bus drivers, who go out of their way to see that their passengers are safe and secure, and how all passengers depart with a cheery “thank you” at their destination.
I am still waiting to see Mayor Ashton and city councillors on the buses that they so casually want to cut back. Let them ride the No. 5 bus that detours with a bus load of Pen High students to the top of Duncan Ave. E. at 3:15 p.m. Now’s the time to put our collective community heads together, be creative, to maintain and even expand Penticton transit.
Penticton transit user