Use the bus service or let it go

Ridership more important than ever as costs for BC Transit service rise like a hot air balloon.

Jobs, services and transportation are the Big Three issues that never seem to go away here. Even if  you think you have one of them solved, it never stays that way.

Part of that, I think, is because we have become a transient society.

I’ve been in my house now for 10 years – the longest I’ve been in one place, ever. In the past, if I wasn’t moving around looking for work, I was moving because I wanted the excitement of discovering a new part of Canada. Ah, to be that young again.

I wonder if we inherited that from our parents’ generation, who were forced to leave their homes and wander in search of work during the Great Depression. It was a time of mass upheaval, and maybe we haven’t settled down yet.

Transportation, for one, was never a problem when I was travelling. We had a great railroad that spanned the entire country; Greyhound Bus was dependable and got you to all of those little out of the way places; air travel was easy and still fairly inexpensive. Who needed a car?

While in my early 20s, I volunteered one summer at the Park House Museum in Amherstburg (Ontario), putting in a historical herb garden for them. That meant a 40 minute bus ride each way, from Windsor to Amherstburg. A very peaceful ride, if I remember correctly, especially since I was usually the only one on the bus. I was happy, but the transit company obviously thought differently as they cancelled the route one day leaving me without a way of getting to my garden. I bicycled out there twice – a two hour trip either way, and then called it quits.

The nerve of them, I thought. I needed that bus, and the museum needed me for their garden. But one passenger on a 30-passenger bus just wasn’t meeting the budget.

Like our bus system here. People ride it, but not enough of us. Do we need this bus service, or not? because if ridership doesn’t increase, and if the village’s can’t find more funding for it, it won’t be rolling for much longer.

And that would be a shame for the folks who do use it and depend on it.

Wendy Coomber is the editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal