Bus route scrapped Translink Points To Low Ridership  

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JOHN KURUCZ / TRI-CITIES NOW
NOVEMBER 1, 2013 12:00 AM

The elimination of a bus route that served three communities has Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA Selina Robinson seeing red in more ways than one.

Robinson told the Tri-Cities NOW the elimination of the No. 177 bus route limits access to youth probation services at the Riverview hospital site, while further eroding transit service levels in the suburbs.

“I think this is an essential route,” she said. “How are youth supposed to get to their probation officers if there is no bus?” A TransLink spokesperson wrote in an email that the route was eliminated in September “due to extremely low ridership, particularly after the Riverview Hospital closure.” The route formerly covered areas of PoCo, Coquitlam and New Westminster.

The spokesperson, who refused to identify himself or herself, suggested affected transit users should instead use either the No. 159 or No. 169 routes.

“Resources from the 177 have been re-invested to improve other services around the region,” the spokesperson wrote. “TransLink continues to work with the remaining residents of the former Riverview campus and surrounding areas to explore alternative travel options.”

That explanation doesn’t hold up for Robinson, who pointed out the No. 169 bus only passes through the Riverview lands six times daily – three times in the morning, and again in the late afternoon.

“It’s not a route. It’s crazy and it’s stupid,” Robinson said.

And while weekday routes have been scaled back, service to Riverview on weekends and holidays has been cancelled altogether.

That angered Treefest organizers in mid-September, as the event took place on a Saturday and left those wanting to bus to the Riverview grounds with no options.

“They’re taking another bus away from the suburbs and have moved it into the city, into Vancouver,” Robinson said. “A once-efficient route is now completely inefficient.”

Ministry of Children and Family Development spokesperson Sheldon Johnson told the Tri-Cities NOW his ministry is finding ways to work around the service reduction.

“Youth that are affected by the cancellation will be served through alternative means, whether in a more convenient ministry office or alternate probation officer,” he said. “In some cases, the officer will travel to the youth’s home or school.”

© Tri-Cities Now

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