Bus service

Vernon writer calls for a more reliable transit system in the North Okanagan

When life threw our daughter a curve ball she was not excited about the prospect of taking the bus to work but she got over it. She adjusted her personal schedule and made it a priority to maintain her independence by using transit wherever possible. Since the end of October she’s been having the Vernon Transit experience.

On Christmas Eve, it was only by chance that my husband finished work early and was home with the car when her bus broke down.  If he had worked his regular hours, she would have had to call a cab, or wait for a replacement bus.  One would have been an onerous expense for many people on that bus, and the other would have left our daughter late for work.

There was one time when she missed the bus she was to transfer to and was left stranded downtown, with an hour to wait for the next bus. When she called BC Transit to report the problem she was informed that, if she had told the driver she needed to transfer to that bus, he would have radioed ahead and had the next bus wait. Next time she asked specifically to transfer to her bus and it was still allowed to leave without her.

Then there was the day that she was on time, walking to the bus stop, when the bus passed her stop early.  Now, there was a time when one would write it off as her watch being a minute or two slower than the driver’s watch, but she doesn’t wear a watch.  Like many people these days, she uses her cell phone for accurate time. Even with the time-synching limitations of mobile devices, they’re generally accurate within 10 seconds of International Atomic Time. It’s not like it’s hard to synchronize our watches anymore. In a big city these would be non-issues, with another bus coming along in 10 or 15 minutes. In Vernon, a missed bus means waiting an hour for the next one.

I’m a person who prefers to bring solutions when I point out a problem and I regret that I’m unable to do that here. It seems that there are complexities to this problem that confound the average mind, otherwise I expect that these issues would have been resolved already.

I fully support, in principle, the idea of reducing harmful emissions and congestion on our roads through the use of alternate modes of transportation. I also know that if we hope to get people out of their cars, it’s going to require a transit system that is considerably more reliable than that which we currently have.

Sam Zaharia