Whistler transit users are frustrated that they are being left behind on main bus routes throughout the municipality during critical morning and evening service.
Since Christmas the buses are often too full to pick up residents trying to get to work on time.
Dan Tyndall travels from Nordic Estates to the village for work every morning and said he's been made to wait for a later bus on numerous occasions. On Thursday, Jan. 6, after he and five others were passed up by a full #2 bus at 7:30 a.m. a woman in a station wagon pulled over and offered them a ride.
"Of the six people that morning, all six of us worked at 8 o'clock in the morning, we were there for the 7:30 bus and it was full. The next bus comes by at 7:46 that gets you in the village at four minutes to eight - it's a little tight," he recounted. "She stopped and invited us all to come in and gave us a ride to the village. It was awesome. It would seem that at some point the bus company knows that this is an issue...why not schedule an extra bus?"
Responsibility for transit is shared between the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW), Whistler Transit Ltd., and BC Transit, all of which have to agree on schedule changes that take place regularly throughout the year. During the Christmas season transit usage and bus service doubles, especially south of the village where a majority of residents live. RMOW transit manager Emma Dal Santo said the organizations are aware of the problem and have shifted schedules to better service the public.
"That's just part of everyday transit service to monitor that and record pass-ups and if that happens once it might be an anomaly...if it happens more than once and we can see a pattern then we try to fix the pattern and we've been looking to see if there actually is a pattern," she said. "We've reallocated some service, right now we're just making sure that doesn't cause problems elsewhere."
Dal Santo said that the transit problems should be fixed next week and that riders with concerns over any aspect of the Whistler bus service should contact BC Transit, the RMOW or Whistler Transit Ltd. New fare boxes that collect specific data will be used to further streamline transit service throughout the municipality once BC Transit wraps up a full service review of Whistler later this year.
"Sometimes if there are just far too many people then that's (pass-ups) just going to happen, but I think transit management has stepped up to it and are dealing with it as fast as they can," said RMOW councilor and regular bus user Chris Quinlan. "They are in the same situation with their bus hours as anybody is with their budget, so they only have X amount of bus hours available for that and they're doing the best they can."