It is nearing eight o’clock in the morning. I am on the community bus from Ashcroft to Clinton. I see a man, peppered gray and white hair, walking on the narrow shoulder in the bluffs.
“He walks for two hours. He comes from Cache Creek. He used to take the bus,” states the driver. I am told that he makes the trek from Cache Creek to Ashcroft and back because the bus no longer links the two villages. He has no choice. He goes to the food bank. Maybe he will be fortunate and secure a ride from a passing motorist.
By mid-morning, I am informed, there will be others. I have seen it before. The hard fought battle of gaining and retaining infrastructure, the struggle of educating citizens that services for the vulnerable work to the betterment of all, the resistance of collecting and reallocating tax dollars, the challenge of becoming a more civil society.
I take the bus regularly. I am not obliged to do so. I have an alternative to drive my own vehicle. I can afford the expense of a private commute. It would be easier and more convenient. I deliberately choose to take the bus. I make a conscious effort to use it. I am committed to public transport. I don’t want to lose it, for myself, for others. It grounds me: I feel safe; I feel connected; I feel a sense of community.
For less than $15,000 a year, the service could be restored. Wellness awaits you, should you choose to belong.
Gloria E. Mertens