Transit Stories: Eric wants to see service improved for seniors and for workers

February 26, 2015

MoveUP is sharing the stories of our members who are voting Yes in the transit referendum and their reasons why. The second in our series features Eric, pictured here with his wife and son, who works as a Transit Analyst at Coast Mountain Bus Company.

I live in Burnaby and take public transit to get to work. It used to take me about 25 minutes, but it’s longer now. If I could make that commute shorter, I’d spend that time sleeping in in the morning!

When I look at the Mayors’ plan I see a plan for more service, more buses, more express routes, better frequency, increased reliability and fewer transfers from A to B. It’s a good plan for what we need now, and what we will need in the future.

Professionally, I deal with drivers’ and customers’ complaints every day. They have reasons to complain. Long stretches of driving are difficult on drivers. Right now they need more breaks and recovery time during those long stretches, but what they really need is spend less time behind the wheel. Customers need reliable service. Every single day I hear about people whose buses don’t show—there’s a mechanical problem and we don’t have any back up buses to send out.

Personally, my commute has extended from 25 minutes to 55 minutes each way now. I visit my dad at the Mount St. Joseph extended care unit daily. Vancouver bus service runs much more frequently than the other cities in our region. But it’s not enough. The buses are overcrowded. They are “cattle runs”, outbound shuttles on the afternoon peak use for most routes.

My mom also visits my dad every day. She’s in her 80s and unreliable service is unacceptable. A neighbour commuted from Burnaby to Richmond for his job on the night shift. Due to the lack of Night Buses, he walked home a few times. It took him a few hours. Eventually, he quit.

I heard lots of complaints when the White Rock community shuttle mid-day service was cut down from 30 minutes to 60 minutes service. Seniors and students suffer the most and feel helpless in this situation.

At one point, it looked as though the Thornhill/Ruskin (Port Coquitlam Community Shuttle C48/C49) would be cut. It’s a 120 minutes service. If you miss your bus, you have to wait two hours for the next one. There are mill workers who rely on that route to get to work. The community put up a big fight to reverse that decision and won. But it shouldn’t be a big fight to get decent transit to get to work. We need more buses and more service to areas like these.

We need to vote Yes in this referendum. The Mayors’ Plan will cut down the number of vehicles on the road, cut down the traffic congestion, improve the air quality, and shorten our commute time and traffic time. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. It will cut down the logistics costs for every industry. The saving will come back as price reduction to the consumers.