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

Purple Day 2019: Victoria marks epilepsy awareness day

1 in 100 Canadians live with epilepsy, a neurological disorder with many symptoms

Famous Floyd’s to open in Royal Oak

Building in Saanich turns iconic pink of local breakfast chain

VicPD seek witnesses to the assault of a youth

On March 24 three men with a white van accosted a youth walking on Dallas Road

Team Canada athletes training at CFB Esquimalt for 2019 Warrior Games

Games enhance the recovery of ill and injured soldiers

Coroner’s inquest announced for Oak Bay teen’s overdose death

Elliot Eurchuk was 16 years old when he died of an opioid overdose at his Oak Bay home

VIDEO: RCMP reveal five kids hit in deadly B.C. crash

The children range in age from six to 17.

POLL: Do you still have a landline telephone?

With smart phones becoming an indispensable part of modern-day life, more and… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 26

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Study: Why Canadian police should have a dedicated animal cruelty unit

People view fighting animal cruelty as a public responsibility

Convicted pedophile from B.C. raises fears after move to Ontario

Police have issued a warning about Madilyn Harks in Brampton

Mystery plane wakes up B.C. residents

An aircraft circled Langley City over the weekend after midnight for about an hour

Stranger climbs onto B.C. family’s second-floor balcony, lights fire in barbecue

Incident in Abbotsford terrifies family with two-year-old boy

Island Health announces funding for 52 projects on Island

$750,000 will go to fund these projects

UPDATED: IHIT investigating fatal crash in Surrey

Three people dead, investigators expected to be at scene ‘for significant amount of time’

Most Read