Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Rural Transit Proposal

In rural BC the school districts and BC Transit could work together to provide transit.

The rural school districts have to provide a lot of bus service to get the kids to the schools.  I remember in Lillooet that more than half the kids were riding buses to get to school each day.   These school districts need to have qualified drivers and own the buses already.

A town like Lillooet has no public transit.  If you live in Pavilion or the Fountain Valley there is no way to get to town unless someone gives you a ride.  From one end of Lillooet to the other is more than six kilometers and unless you call the cab you have to walk or drive a car.

What if BC Transit worked with the school districts to make use of the existing buses and drivers to provide a basic transit service?   The school districts could defray some of their expenses, BC Transit could offer a service for lot less than otherwise and a small town would have an alternative.

Routes and schedules could all be worked out, but if we work from the idea of an eight hour work day for the driver and the school schedule, you should be able to stagger some of the drivers a bit earlier in the day and some a bit later and give a transit coverage for close to ten hours of the day.  I am not certain, but the fares could be enough to cover the extra costs of offering the service.

Adults riding on existing runs with the kids would be a direct cost recovery.   All that would need to be done is ensure that the seats are there for the kids and only the extra ones are available to the general public.

During the day some of the buses could offer an in town and near regional service.  At the end of the day possibly one extra commuter run could be an option.  

It strikes me that for many of the small rural towns in BC this could be an easy way to provide a transportation option for those without cars.


Barry Rueger said...

Possible obstacles: school buses are privatized. Is there profit in public transit? Drivers tend to be moms who are happy to accept a split shift and (I assume) lousy benefits. Doubt the bus companies want full time workers.

Bernard von Schulmann said...

I am certain the school buses in most of rural BC are owned and operated by the school districts, if that has changed in the last couple of years, that is news to me.

I know a lot of people that have been rural school bus drivers, almost all of them would like to have the job fulltime if the could. Their qualifications are the same as ones for transit bus drivers