Friday September 3, 2010

Letters

Bigham Tries For  Transit Week  

Bus activist applies more pressure to City Hall

 

he verdict is in! In response to my comprehensive report detailing the inadequacies and possible solutions concerning the Chilliwack transit system the municipality has submitted their changes for the 10/11 year. They’re upgrading to the Agassiz-Harrison connector!                 

 

Wait, what? Don’t get me wrong that connector did need an upgrade, but it wasn’t mentioned in my report, and it’s not even in the realm of a top priority to the majority of the transit ridership.

Let’s consider another report, the Chilliwack Comprehensive Municipal Transit Plan (TP) released in 1999 by BC Transit which cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars. Why do we keep spending so much on studies that yield results we promptly ignore, if we this took that money and invested it toward the actual problem, it would likely be a non-issue. After reading the TP I’m saddened to find out that the Chilliwack transit system is in the same awkward transitional phase it was in 1998.

We’re stuck transitioning from a system that only services captive riders (people with no other choice but to take the bus) while hoping for a system that will eventually service choice riders (people who choose to take the bus).

The TP recommended to either invest in the system to get us over this transitional phase and into a choice rider system, or strip the system down to its bear minimum, like in was the 80s, and intentionally make it a captive rider system. The TP went on to say that whatever we do we should get out of this awkward transitional phase as soon as possible because it has all the expenses of a choice system, but the return of a captive system.

Guess what, 12 years later we’re still in the transition phase, and it’s bleeding us dry! We’re ignored the both the time tables in the TP, the “aggressive” and the “standard” methods of upgrades.

According to these time tables by the year 2004 if we did the most aggressive method of upgrades we would have a fleet of 24 buses, versus the bare minimum method of upgrades where we would have a fleet of 10 buses.

Thus it can be concluded that we’ve done less than the bare minimum to find ourselves in the year 2010 and have a fleet of only 6 buses. That’s not even mentioning all of the routing/scheduling timetable suggestions we’ve ignored; half hour frequency across the board, and service to areas including Chilliwack Mountain, and Ryder Lake. Don’t forget that we should have had evening and holiday service as of the year 2002.

 

 

I’m sure it’s no one’s surprise that the performance of the Chilliwack transit system based on municipalities of the same size is ranked in the lowest percentile. I agree with council that the annual changes to the transit system should be “incremental” but clearly we need to be recalibrated, because the changes made to the system over the last several years are so small they aren’t noticeable.

Council doesn’t necessarily need to use my plan for upgrades, but they need to use a plan, with a schedule, and stick to it! Clearly we’ve chosen the “upgrade to a choice system” option given the 1999 TP ultimatum; so let’s do it!

Let’s make September 5th – 11th Chilliwack’s Public Transit week! Let’s help spread awareness to our automobile dependant community, and encourage the masses to park their cars for a week and get on a bus!

Approximately 52,300 members of our community live within a reasonable walking distance of a bus stop, but only around 1500 people utilize the bus system on a daily basis. I think we can do better Chilliwack! Councilor Janzen the Chair of our Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) has the primary mandate of increasing ridership on the buses in Chilliwack but has never actually been on a Chilliwack bus herself.

I think it’s time for Council and TAC to lead by example and put their bus fares where their mouths are and get on a bus!

Cheers,

Jenn Bigham

The Chilliwack'tivist.

 

 

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