The proposed change in ferry service and resultant public protest bring up for me another matter that has had far too little serious attention: greatly improved bus service on the Coast. Including a Park and Ride system.
I recognize that some people need to take their cars across, for a variety of reasons. And living in Pender Harbour, Tuwanek, on a minor bus route with its two-hour service, or more than a few blocks off the main route, means we have no choice but to drive. But I’m sure there are folk who would be willing to take the bus, given decent service on this side. While we do nothing, more and more newcomers take driving everywhere for granted. And the buses go back and forth nearly empty much of the time.
A truly useful bus service will benefit everyone: less traffic congestion especially at ferry times, fewer crashes and traffic holdups, less strain on police, ambulance and hospital services, less road wear, less pollution, fewer issues with ferry service, personal savings on gas and vehicle upkeep. All stakeholders will benefit – local and provincial government in reduced costs for all of the above, local businesses, BC Transit, BC Ferries, commuters, the tourism industry, as well as visitors and the general public.
It’s time for all stakeholders to unite and work out a plan to locate and fund Park and Ride locations in Sechelt and two or three other key places, and additional buses and drivers. Then to offer incentives to use the new system: low or no cost at the Park and Ride lots for instance, and publicity and incentives to make taking the bus more attractive than the risk of sitting in your car for another two hours in the blazing sun because your ferry was full.
Sheila Weaver, Wilson Creek