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Changes to North Van bus route could impact seniors, students
Walking slowly, Fred Rogers stops before a steep hill near his home in Deep Cove.
“It would even be hard to walk down and I couldn’t make it back up,” says the 88-year-old, pointing down the road.
He may have no choice, however, if the 211 Seymour bus route is changed.
Right now, he can catch the bus to go to the doctor’s, bank and grocery store about a block from his house but if the loop is cancelled he would have two choices: walk up and down the hill or catch another bus about a kilometre away.
And it’s not only the amount of walking that worries Rogers — it’s the additional time he would have to spend travelling on the bus.
“It’s very inconvenient. With more people coming (to Deep Cove), we should get better service,” Rogers says, adding he is too old to drive and doesn’t want to rely on a taxi or neighbours.
If the changes go through, the 211 Seymour bus will run straight along Mount Seymour Parkway, cutting off the loop along Fairway Drive where Rogers lives.
This is part of TransLink’s Service Optimization plan that is aimed at making buses more efficient.
In the case of the “low-ridership” 211 bus, TransLink wants to make the route more direct and easy to understand by cutting out the loop. The affected bus stops, says TransLink, are within walking distance of alternate stops.
But these proposed changes aren’t sitting well with Rogers and some of his neighbours.
“It’s only three minutes of inconvenience for people who don’t want to get off on Fairway,” says Rogers’ friend Mel Turner. “I could understand if there was considerable savings but they won’t save any money, just three minutes of time.”
The loop cancellation also worries Sherwood Park elementary school principal Joe Campbell.
While he understands TransLink’s position, he would rather see a bus stop kept in front of the school.
“We have around 15 or so kids who ride that bus with caregivers, often with their grandparents,” he says. “It could be a problem, especially with elderly people bringing their grandchildren to school.”
If the bus loop is cut, he says, some students and staff members would have to use less convenient routes.
The proposed route changes would affect three other buses on the North Shore: 251 and 252 in West Vancouver and 229 in North Vancouver.