It is time to develop a regional transportation strategy, integrating both public and private carriers. We need to move people and their things into, out of and around our region in a manner that is more attractive than driving and available to those without cars. How do we integrate private and public?
At present, the Greyhound to Vancouver stops at the Hotel Vancouver before reaching the terminal. Wouldn't it make more sense for it to stop at Waterfront Station, where people could easily connect with Canada Line, SeaBus, two Skytrain routes, the West Coast Express and buses?
In Whistler, some transit routes don't go past the Greyhound stop. People with huge suitcases and ski gear drag them from the Gondola Loop, up a long flight of stairs, down a longer flight of stairs and through the village. Try it sometime.
The buses we call "commuters," connecting Squamish and Pemberton with Whistler, are poorly promoted and hard to find information on. In spite of that, they are attracting a growing number of followers.
My experience and comments are on the Squamish bus. From Whistler, there are shoppers, university students, golfers, climbers and people needing government services. From Squamish, there are workers, those attending events and skiers who would rather pay $5 to be dropped off at a gondola than to drive their own car, find parking and walk to the gondola. The bus route gives access to six lifts.
The lack of marketing for the commuter service may relate to legal and moral obligations to private carriers.
I think we need to broaden our regional transit coverage and allow carriers like Greyhound to bring tourists and locals in and out of the area. A shortened, quicker, more direct Greyhound route would benefit tourists and those of us who travel to Vancouver by bus. Dentville and Brackendale need better transit service, not a slower Greyhound.
Greyhound would benefit by providing a direct, full-fare, long-haul service. At present, we have a mix of services, poorly promoted routes and poor connections between services.
In spite of that, my last trip to YVR cost less than $12 and took less than two hours. It was with a Fare Saver ticket on the Greyhound and a quick trip on the Canada Line. Again, why does the Greyhound stop at the Hotel Vancouver?
An area we have regressed in is rail travel. I've taken the train to Prince George, but you can't do that now. Our B.C. government didn't see fit to provide legacy or short-term Olympic rail service. If you think it can't be done, watch as guests of Alberta's government enjoy B.C. scenery from their Olympic train as they travel between Vancouver and Whistler.