A transit rider is speaking out about what she calls poor bus service for students and employees from Parksville Qualicum Beach who study and work at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo.
Irene Champagne, a clinical counsellor and academic advisor in International Student Services at VIU, has raised the issue with the Regional District of Nanaimo transit committee, highlighting the late arrival of the buses in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area.
She indicated that she has emailed the RDN transit staff 11 times about the No. 91 Intercity bus to Woodgrove failing to link with the No. 15 VIU connector bus.
“It causes me, a working senior, to have to wait in the cold and rain for a later bus, then jeopardize my livelihood by arriving late to work,” she told the RDN.
Champagne also added that she had appealed for service to be scheduled in a manner that can support university students and staff using the bus.
The first bus from Qualicum Beach in the morning, Champagne said, bypassed Northwest Bay Road. The second bus, she cited, is approximately 10 to 15 minutes too late to be of any use to some students and employees.
“Young university students are required to drive personal services, creating a major pollution traffic, and parking problems, not to mention the safety of the youth behind the wheels,” said Champagne.
Champagne offered the following solution. She suggested the RDN transit committee, in partnership with BC Transit, launch a new route that from Qualicum Beach, via Nanoose to VIU, departing to arrive at the university campus by 7:55 a.m.
“There is certainly enough ridership for such a thing,” she said. “I am often left standing due to no available seats on both route 91 and 15.”
As there are elderly riders in every courtesy seat, Champagne said that others have to stand which she said is not safe when travelling along the Island Highway.
Champagne has appealed to the RDN as well as to the City of Parksville and Town of Qualicum Beach to address the problem.
The RDN board, at its last meeting on Oct. 16, directed staff to report back to the RDN transit committee regarding system crowding on routes No. 91 and No. 15.