A new bus service connecting Lytton and Ashcroft will begin running every Friday starting Dec. 16. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

A new bus service connecting Lytton and Ashcroft will begin running every Friday starting Dec. 16. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)

New bus service from Lytton to Ashcroft will run every Friday

Bus will make two round trips between the communities every Friday starting Dec. 16

Starting Friday, Dec. 16, a new bus service will link Lytton and Ashcroft every Friday, with the service provided at no charge through at least the end of January 2023.

Yellowhead Community Services Society (YCS), in partnership with the Salvation Army and the Anglican Parish, have announced the start of the new Lytton Connection bus service. The Salvation Army has donated a bus and provided funding, with additional funding coming from the Anglican Parish and YCS.

Jack Keough, executive director of YCS and chair of the Lytton Unmet Needs committee, says that lack of transportation for people in and around Lytton was identified by the committee as a major need.

“Transit wasn’t great before the fire [in June 2021], but the committee identified it as a significant unmet need for residents, both for the people who were still there and those coming back to interim housing.

“The Salvation Army came forward and offered a bus to YCS; it’s older, but has low mileage and is in great shape. I said that we could operate it because it’s in the scope of our society’s bylaws and in our geographical area, and we already do the Health Connections bus from Lillooet and Ashcroft.”

The service will operate every Friday starting Dec. 16, with two round trips per day between the Lytton area and Ashcroft. The first trip starts at 8:50 a.m. with pick-up at Kanaka Bar (location to be determined). The bus will then stop at the Siska and Skuppah village offices, Lytton Esso, and the Lytton First Nations village office, with flag stops (by request) at NicoAmen and Spences Bridge. The bus will arrive in Ashcroft at approximately 10:40 a.m. and stop at the hospital, the HUB, and Safety Mart before returning to Lytton at 11:15 a.m.

The second trip starts from Kanaka Bar at 1 p.m., and stops in the same locations as above before arriving in Ashcroft at approximately 2:50 p.m. It leaves Ashcroft for the return journey starting at 3:15 p.m., meaning that someone who catches the morning bus and returns on the afternoon one can have 4.5 hours in Ashcroft for medical appointments, shopping, and more.

Between 1:30 and 3 p.m. on Fridays, the Ashcroft-Cache Creek-Clinton transit bus is in Ashcroft, and available for door-to-door service between any destinations in the community. The service can be booked 24 hours in advance.

“We welcome this new bus service between Lytton and Ashcroft,” Lytton mayor Denise O’Connor told the Journal. “We can’t thank enough those who donated and worked so hard to make the bus a reality.”

Keough says that for now, users do not need to book spaces on the bus. The exception is for people wanting pick-up at the flag stops at NicoAmen and Spences Bridge.

“We didn’t know if we should do it like the Health Connections bus, which is pre-booked, but then decided we’d tackle that as it comes, so we might have more people than seats. We’re asking people to bear with us, as it’s a trial, and we have no idea what the uptake will be.”

The service is being provided free of charge (donations accepted) between Dec. 16 and the end of January. During this time, the timing for the various stops will be evaluated, and potential future stops will be identified. In the case of extreme weather, the rule of thumb will be that if the school buses are not running, the local transit bus will not run either.

Once the two-month trial period has ended the service will continue, but there will be a nominal fee each time someone rides the bus from one location to another.

“It’s all by donation for now, because we have funds to run this from the Salvation Army, the Anglican Parish, and YCS,” says Keough. “We wanted to try to get this up and running as it is now, and then secure some funding from BC Transit or from Health Connections/Interior Health.”

He adds that in February 2023, depending on demand, they are thinking of adding a similar transit service from Lytton to Lillooet.

“We weren’t sure where people wanted to go,” says Keough, “but we know there are a lot of Lytton people in Ashcroft, so it made sense to try that first and see what the demand and ridership was like.”

“Since the fire, most Lytton people continue to drive to other communities for groceries, hardware, appointments, or to visit friends and family that are still displaced from Lytton,” says O’Connor.

“This new bus service will provide an affordable option to access all of those things in Ashcroft.”

You can see the full transit schedule at https://bit.ly/3Pn4oYn. For more information on the Lytton to Ashcroft transit service, to schedule a pick-up at a flag stop, or to book the door-to-door service in Ashcroft, call 1-855-359-3935.



editorial@accjournal.ca

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