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Lack of public transit on Mitchell Island unsafe: Store manager

There are no plans to expand bus service to Mitchell Island: Translink
Rajni Raghuranshi is the store manager for 6Pack Indoor Beach on Mitchell Island. Galileo Cheng photo

Rajni Raghuranshi has been the store manager for 6Pack Indoor Beach, B.C.’s only indoor beach volleyball centre, on Mitchell Island for almost four years.

It’s okay during the day, but at night Raghuranshi needs to walk in the dark over part of the Knight Street Bridge to catch the bus home because there is no public transportation on the island.

“We are open until 11:30 p.m. sometimes, and it’s so dark here at nighttime,” she said.

“I use transit myself and I have to walk, go up on the bridge and then take the 100 bus – and there are only two buses available at the bus stop.”

There are also two bus stops on Knight Street for people going to Vancouver and Richmond.

What concerns Raghuranshi even more is the impact of the lack of public transit options on businesses on Mitchell Island, as customers without a car can’t come to places like 6Pack.

“Many people think this is an industrial area and they don’t want to come here,” she said. “They don’t know there’s actually a badminton court, a volleyball court and also basketball courts here.

For employees and customers, especially with their late hours of operation, it’s not safe not having a bus, she added.

The City of Richmond said they recognize it’s “far from ideal” to have the only bus stops for Mitchell Island on the Knight Street Bridge.

“That is one of the issues we have discussed with TransLink for improvement,” said city spokesperson Clay Adams.

Thor Diakow, a spokesperson for Translink, said there are no current plans to expand bus service to Mitchell Island but the transit authority is “actively working” to get an employee shuttle service to the island.

“It should be noted, some industrial areas are difficult to serve by transit due to road network configurations and travel demand tied to work schedules,” said Diakow.

“TransLink has recently met with Mitchell Island businesses, with support from the City of Richmond and Modo, to offer some additional mobility options - such as carpool and vanpool - to staff on the island.”