Frequency of service, reliability and length of commutes are some of the concerns industrial park workers have with the current transit system, according to a recent study sponsored by the Delta and Richmond chambers of commerce.
Both chambers commissioned the survey, conducted by students of the Business School of BCIT, because lack of transit in Delta and Richmond industrial parks is a threat to companies located there.
As businesses try to attract and keep workers, these employees face constant challenges in getting to and from work.
The business student team of Anna Chou and Gaelen-Devin O'Hagan surveyed the needs and opinions of business owners, managers and workers on transit, and the level of service provided by TransLink, in three industrial parks: Tilbury and Annacis Island in Delta and Port of Vancouver-Richmond Properties in Richmond.
"What the study told us," says Delta Chamber of Commerce board director David Turbitt, "is workers are not using the current transit service because it's unreliable and infrequent.
"At peak periods, buses which are full will pass by those trying to get to work. Unlike some routes in the metropolitan area, the next bus, even at peak demand, may not arrive for another half hour."
Another reason industrial park workers avoid using public transit is that bus stops are not "user friendly" and are located in poor surroundings.
Turbitt says, "That's still the case with some stops, which consist of a sign on a pole, a patch of gravel and one or two lawn chairs provided by individuals, if there is any seating at all."
He says the chamber acknowledges the upgrades of 19 bus stops in Tilbury by the Corporation of Delta.
"This study has helped us identify some concerns with the level of transit service.
More work needs to be done and we may organize another study to drill down to more specific recommendations.
"We are not out to bash TransLink, which is being challenged by serious demands throughout the Metro Vancouver region and with limited resources to be able to respond.
A solution may emerge through the private sector. If we can help develop a business case for a private bus service to complement the service provided by TransLink that might create a win/win solution for everybody."