Cut to rural bus route hurts

Family upset that long-standing school bus service cut on Creighton Valley Road in Lumby area

Allan Jones is raising his children on the same family farm he grew up on, but getting them to school has become a challenge.

The family lives at Echo Lake, on Creighton Valley Road, and Jones’ daughters in Grades 3 and 5 are driven 17 kilometres to the nearest bus stop to get to school in Lumby. Until this year, the bus came to them but Vernon School District cuts ended the service.

“It’s a nightmare every day,” said Jones.

“It’s been very stressful. We have to get them to the bus, go home and work and then go back again.”

Not only is time from his home-based business lost, Jones and his wife are spending considerable money on gas.

“I understand budget cuts but it (bus) is a service we had for 40 years,” he said.

“I offered to pay money for them to come out here.”

School district officials have stated that because of provincial funding, there isn’t sufficient resources to continue all previous bus routes.

Jones has expressed his concerns with the school district and he has sought political action.

“I thought our MLA could help us but I’ve been trying for three months and he hasn’t returned calls,” said Jones.

Eric Foster, Vernon-Monashee MLA, says Jones has talked to his office staff and been told the issue is the responsibility of the school board.

“They make changes in busing and we don’t interfere in their operations,” said Foster.

“It’s their call. He needs to deal with the school district and not me.”

Foster added that the government used to designate money specifically for transportation but school boards requested that the money be combined with the overall funding they receive.

Jones is concerned that a lack of busing could negatively impact rural communities.

“What young family wants to move out here?” he said.