Millions of dollars have been spent in Vancouver over the last decade, not on the creation of a rapid transit service, but on expensive consultants’ reports on whether and what to do about it. Meanwhile, the streets get more and more crowded, the quality of life diminishes and the ticky-tacky suburbs—all served exclusively be the automobile—continue their march through farmland out over the horizon. This is progress?
Anyway, what passes for public transit is the bus system, basically the same system which has existed since the street-car rails were ripped up and the old “Toonerville Trolley” commuter railroad was discontinued some 25 years ago. The system is run by the Metro Transit Operating Company, a child spawned of B.C. Hydro with a couple of layers of regional bureaucracy dumped in between the bus drivers and the passengers.
The former NDP Government (1972-75), being believers in all-things-public, injected some money into the system during their term of office, bought some shiny new buses, painted the word “Bus” on the sides of most of them, and extended the service out into the boondocks including a commuter “Fastbus” service from most of the municipalities ringing Vancouver. The current government, and the current B.C. Hydro chairman (former Socred attorney-general Robert Bonner, the arch-foe of most things profitless and sensible), have alternately cut the service, expressed faith in it, and promised prompt and speedy action on rapid transit by 1984 or so.
Which leaves passengers waiting at the bus stop in the rain, usually.
The bus system is good, if you work downtown and are commuting during the normal rush hour from not too far away. Downtown congestion and parking rates are outrageous, so the bus system wins by default. It is convenient and cheap.
BCIT, in case you haven’t already noticed, is not downtown. It is in the suburbs, and unless you live along Willingdon, Hastings or Kingsway, it will take you a long time to get to school in the morning.
The Student Association is acting as a dealer for Hydro’s $18.50 per month student bus passes, available through the This & That Emporium, again this year. The pass is really a bargain, when you consider paying a dollar for any round trip and the inconvenience of always having the correct change.
Bus schedules and route maps are available in the Housing Office in the Maquinna Residence. If they don’t have the one you want or you are trying to figure out how to get somewhere you’ve never been, call B.C. Hydro’s Transit Information number and ask for directions. They will give you a very detailed route to follow, including bus numbers, transfer points and the time to catch the first bus in order to make your destination on time. A very worthwhile service.
In all fairness, B.C. Hydro is responsible for one of the great scenic bargains in the city—the 50¢ Seabus from the foot of Lonsdale in North Vancouver to downtown. It’s a great way to see the harbor and mountains on a clear winter day.