Sunday July 4, 2010

City Hall News


No Magic Bus

Bigham makes B-Line to City Hall with transit report

Craig Hill/Voice


                                                                                                                                                   Craig Hill/Voice photos

Jenn Bigham hopes her Transit Report to City Hall will help make transit changes.

o you ever have that waiting-for-a-bus feeling? Chilliwack resident and transit activist, Jenn Bigham does and she made a presentation to council Monday regarding the results of a 500-rider survey she conducted over the last couple of months and the city welcomed her report.

Bigham, who has a degree in Physics from UFV decided to start riding her bicycle to work but last winter that was almost impossible. When she wanted to take the bus, to her dismay, there was no local service to where she worked at Best Western on Industrial and Lickman Rd.

In an effort to get better transit service for all of Chilliwack, and rather than just sending off a few of her concerns in e-mails, Bigham took it upon herself to conduct a full-fledged survey that she could then take to the mayor and city council.

After two months and 500 public transit riders later, Bigham was able to analyze the information she gathered and compile the data into an easy to understand series of charts and graphs.

Bigham told council that the system isn't working for her or the majority of people she surveyed for her "Transit Report."

One of Bigham's ideas is to create a B-Line bus that runs down Vedder and Yale similar to the Broadway B-line busses in Vancouver.


Once Bigham was finished with the presentation, Mayor Gaetz thanked her for the work she put into it.


"I know that's been your passion and even just talking to you when we met before about the fact that you're riding your bike every single day is rather impressive to hear and that you're walking the talk so thank you very much for doing that and this information is very helpful to our city."                    

                                              The mayor told Bigham that her work saved the city money truckloads of cash.


"I think we would have had to pay a whole whack of money     Jenn Bigham talks with StarFm's newsman Mile Ellinger Monday.

to consultants to come and                                                                                                

bring forward with this kind of report and the fact that you took the time to interview over 500 people is very significant to collate all of that information and to put it together in something that we can use as a city is fantastic," added Gaetz.

Coun. Huttema told council when referring the report to the TAC that it may be possible to work something out this year.

"Maybe not just refer to TAC but also to staff. There are some, I think there are some items in this report that can be implemented fairly easily and quickly so staff could look at that as well in conjunction with the TAC but not wait necessarily for the TAC to come back with some recommendations.

Coun. Janzen told Bigham that they'd like to have a closer look at her report at the TAC meeting.

"I think what our intention here is to refer to the TAC and what I would like to do is meet with staff and see how we would move forward," said Janzen.

Coun. McLean added his thanks to Bigham for the work she did telling her that it was "Very thorough report and I look forward to further discussions around this in the TAC."

 Jenn Bigham speaks to council at City Hall Monday.                      

Bigham told the Voice that she is hoping to have an emergency meeting with the Transportation Advisory Committee because time is of the essence if there are to be any amendments to the city this year. If not then any of her recommendations will have to wait for another year.

"Their next scheduled meeting is after the changes need to be implemented," she said. "September is a big time, that's when they do all their changes, once a year."

If the changes Bigham wants to see implemented take effect, then it will undoubtedly raise rider rates and she would be willing to pay more because after she does the math then she says her time is "worth more than 25 an hour."

Bigham refers to the transfer system and that it also needs to be looked because of the lengthy layovers, time on the transfer runs out.

Bigham has a monthly bus pass that she uses for major shopping trips but does plan on using her bicycle as much as possible.

"I don't use the bus system very often because its so frustrating, I've tried to but I mean it's so frustrating its like rip-your-hair out type of frustrating."

Bigham also does computer programming and could use that to the city's benefit.

"I'd be happy to write a program that shows them how to do the scheduling and routing and I'll probably do that.

The battle for better transit is a long way from being over yet and Bigham wants to see it through all the way.

See the full report and Bigham's presentation in it's entirety on the City Hall Report page here.


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