Bus drivers’ union speaks out about transit troubles

Poll indicates public willing to pay more for buses

  • Feb. 29, 2012 2:00 p.m.

A new poll commissioned by the bus drivers’ union shows locals think transit funding should be increased and responsibility for public transit should be in the hands of the municipalities, rather than the province.

“Our union has been deeply concerned with the obvious problems that Victoria Regional Transit System, part of B.C. Transit, has experienced in recent years,” said CAW Local 333 president Ben Williams. “Everyone in Victoria knows about the problems, bus overcrowding, long wait times, pass-ups of thousands of riders each month due to full buses, and lastly the lack of adequate late night service.

“Despite bus rider dissatisfaction and ongoing complaints from our drivers, there has been little positive response (from B.C. Transit) to date.”

The poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion on behalf of CAW Local 333, the union representing Victoria bus drivers, was conducted Jan. 27 to Feb. 1.

The poll, which asked 462 Greater Victoria residents six questions regarding their use of transit, found 51 per cent of riders experienced overcrowding, 42 per cent complained of long wait times and 44 per cent noted a lack of late night service.

“We have been extremely gratified to discover that the overwhelming majority of Greater Victoria residents want much better bus service. The polling shows we need more buses, increased handyDART service … better night service and to create bus-only lanes to improve rush hour traffic. That’s what Victoria expects,” said Williams.

The poll showed 67 per cent of respondents think bus-only lanes during morning and evening rush hour would improve the speed of transit service in the region.

“Our members know from first-hand experience that bus-only lanes will make rush hour travel so much better,” said Williams.

Of the people asked, a large number indicated they would like to see increased handyDART bus service for people with disabilities and seniors.

“An overwhelming 82 per cent want increased handyDART bus service. Only six per cent were opposed,” he said. Williams noted that those with disabilities and many seniors must rely on public transit for daily living. “Unfortunately, they simply can’t depend on the handyDART service because of lack of buses and service hours. Surely our most vulnerable citizens deserve better transit service.”

He pointed out that B.C. Transit spends a large amount of money by providing a 50 per cent subsidy toward the cost of taxi rides when handyDART is not available.

“The amount of funds that are spent on taxi service in Victoria as a subsidy for handyDART because they don’t have the service is absolutely huge. I think the public would be astonished to see the figures,” Williams said, although he was unable to provide the amount.

The union intends to work with all levels of government to end problems in the system and make public transit better, he said. “It’s time to take action, to improve bus service for everyone and make public transit a better option so more people can leave their cars at home.”

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

(Victoria Cool Aid Society/Facebook)
Victoria food drive aims to feed those also struggling with housing

Quadra Village furniture store hosting drive-thru event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A sketch of the multi-use path that will connect Lagoon Beach and Royal Beach in Colwood. (Sketch courtesy of the City of Colwood)
Concepts for Colwood beach connector coming to council June 21

Major infrastructure project includes gathering places, public amenities and pathways

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in Saanich parkland

The birds don’t often touch down in the south of the Island

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Most Read