WAVE ready to break

As a previous employee of Whistler Transit, my co-workers and I worked hard at providing the best possible service for the Whistler, Pemberton and Squamish communities despite the lack of funds provided and support from both the municipality and Pacific Western Transportation (PWT), head office to Whistler Transit.

To add insult to injury an RMOW staff member went to pick up our award (for highest ridership totals in all of Western Canada) and didn’t have the decency to come and visit us at Transit to show us our award or to even thank any of us in person. It is rude and obnoxious for RMOW to accept such an award on our behalf given they have not once supported us throughout the winter period (or at all!). Yes, we did have two council members who came to visit our office to determine for themselves the state of our fleet and the trying issues we were faced with. But both Eckhard Zeidler and Nancy Whilhem-Morden only portrayed our mechanics and staff as incompetent by stating, “(the buses) are held together with string, …tape and bubblegum.” I understand the idea behind the statement but how unfortunate it is that not everyone understood it to be directed toward B.C. Transit. It was simply the wrong choice of words to use during such a sensitive time for all employees involved.

I agree with Zeidler that the technology of the fuel cell buses requires further testing as their reliability is unknown. It’s simply a crapshoot. Zeidler then expressed the need for reliable buses to transport visitors and residents. This brings me to my next point.

Staff members at RMOW decided that six new diesel buses being provided by B.C. Transit wouldn’t be good enough for Whistler and therefore dismissed the offer without consulting council members. When council finally knew about this offer they still didn’t take it upon themselves to acquire these buses. These six new buses offered by B.C. Transit would have enabled us to continue our efforts in providing a decent service. Council wants something more environmentally friendly, as they claim we are a sustainable community. Well it will be a long time till that happens. So we are dealing with the same aged buses that continue to puke out black and blue smoke, contributing to smog and allergens, and leaking oil and fuel, causing environmental damage.

One of our inspections by B.C. Transit had seven buses pulled off the road in one day due to safety concerns, five of the buses have been sent to the city for overhauls. That leaves very little for spares. Now this is not to say our mechanics are incompetent, but they have very little to work with as the resources and funding are not there. The repetitive replacing of parts can only work so long before some of the buses give out entirely.


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