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Buses added between Whistler Village and Callaghan venue

Olympic organizers trying to combat long waits after events

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Some spectators were encouraged to hear about new changes to the Olympic bus service between Whistler Village and the Nordic events in the Callaghan.

More buses have now been added to prevent the two-hour waits for the bus back to Whistler that spectators like Helena Kern experienced on the first weekend of the 2010 Games.

"I spent seven hours in transit that day for a one-hour event," said Kern. "It did put me off."

She was at the ski jumping on Friday, the first event of the Games. She was contemplating giving up her second set of ski jumping tickets for later this week but was pleased to hear of the new changes.

"It would definitely encourage me to go (back) if things were a bit more streamlined," she said.

She was also pleased to hear of the changes that would see the buses to Whistler Olympic Park leave from Lot 4, which is closer to the local transit hub and paved, rather than lot 5, where the pot-holes have made it difficult to access for both spectators and the buses.

Maureen Douglas, spokesperson for the Vancouver Organizing Committee of the 2010 Games (VANOC), explained the weekend waits back to Whistler were caused when spectators from the city decided to check out the action in the village rather than return to Vancouver following events. About 400 people, or 20 per cent of the Vancouver spectators, made that decision last weekend.

"There are people interested in coming in and sharing in the celebrations and seeing what the energy and vibe is in Whistler," she said.

Douglas added that could change during the weekdays, with fewer people making the trek to Whistler.

"We will tweak operations every single day to continue to enhance and build upon the spectator experience," she said.

Even with the addition of new buses she cautioned Olympic spectators that it takes time to unload a venue. Unlike load-in, which is staggered, everyone leaves an event at the same time.

"It will take some time to clear a venue," she said.

"People do need to plan for that and be patient.

"Each Olympic event really is meant to be essentially a full day experience. Enjoy the experience. Take everything in."

She also encouraged spectators to dress for the weather conditions, which can be ever changing in Whistler. And to consider going for food and washroom breaks at the non-peak times, not at the beginning or the end of an event.

Olympic organizers are working very hard to meet the demands at the venues. Each transaction at the food service stations at Whistler Olympic Park, which have been timed to gauge efficiency, is averaging between 45 to 75 seconds.

 

 

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