Here comes the bus 

Squamish commuter bus starts again Saturday, Nov. 19

P>By Alison Taylor

Changes have been made to the Squamish commuter bus schedule after a delegation of 75 riders petitioned for alterations in the afternoon departure times.

The delegation pitched their ideas for earlier afternoon bus times to Squamish Mayor Ian Sutherland last Thursday. He passed along their concerns to stakeholders in the Sea to Sky Transit System.

"This is still a learning process," said the mayor this week.

"We have to try to find the times that work best for the majority of the people."

The departure times of the buses leaving Whistler and ferrying workers back home to Squamish have been changed to reflect these riders’ concerns. They will now leave earlier than originally scheduled.

"Essentially the reason why we’re willing to make the change is if these 75 people took the time and put the effort into researching it and discussing it and making a presentation, then obviously we should probably listen to them," said Scott Pass, manager for Whistler Transit.

The afternoon buses, which were originally scheduled for 4:45 and 5:15 p.m., will now leave at 4:35 and 4:50 p.m.

"The main thing they were concerned about is they felt the 4:45 bus is a little bit too late for people who were getting off work between 4 and 4:30 p.m.," said Pass. "Rather than finding another way home, they’ll just wait another 10 minutes and they’ll be able to use our service both ways."

Pass said they had noticed that the last bus back to Squamish at 5:15 p.m. was only two-thirds full, whereas both buses in the morning were always full. Those riders were finding other ways home because the bus left Whistler later than they would have liked.

This is the second pilot project after the first four-month project ended earlier this year. That project exceeded rider-number expectations.

"This is a pilot project and one of the things about the pilot project is to establish what the appropriate bus fare is and the other is to establish the appropriate schedule," said Pass.

He added that they will be monitoring the schedule changes for the first month and if they are not suitable they will again make changes.

Both the Resort Municipality of Whistler and the District of Squamish are sharing the costs for the service.

The service begins again on Saturday, Nov. 19 and will run until April 23, 2006.

Tickets are for sale at the municipal halls in Squamish and Whistler.

The fares are $4 per ride for adults, $3 for seniors and youth. Books of 10 tickets can be purchased for $36 and monthly passes are $120.

For more information go to www.busonline.ca .

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