Cuts to bus service anger Crowsnest Pass residents
"It sucks that they're going to be taking some of that away now that I've found a little freedom"
By Lucie Edwardson, CBC News Posted: Mar 11, 2018 12:34 PM MT Last Updated: Mar 11, 2018 1:24 PM MT
Lucie Edwardson is a reporter with CBC Calgary currently running a pop-up bureau in Lethbridge, Alberta.
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Some people living in the Crowsnest Pass are crying foul over cuts to the local bus service, Ride Crowsnest.
Soon the bus will only pick up passengers two days a week instead of three.
According to some residents, the move will have a big impact on those with mobility issues.
David Lucas told CBC his main method of transportation is the Ride Crowsnest Bus and when he heard about the impending changes he was angry to know he'd now have to spend upward of $20 on a taxi on days the bus — which costs $3 a trip — isn't running.
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But more than that, Lucas said he's worried about those people whose wheelchairs don't fit in the local cabs.
"As far as I'm concerned it's violates human rights because it deprives handicap people of equal access," he said.
Carol Barney — who is wheelchair dependent — says the bus has made her life better.
"Because I'm in a long-term care facility, I don't really get the chance to interact with the community," she told CBC.
"But knowing that there's a bus that I can take — because I'm in a wheelchair — it makes it a lot easier to be a part of the community, and it sucks that they're going to be taking some of that away now that I've found a little freedom."
But, Mayor Blair Painter said the bus is under utilized, with only about eight consistent users.
Painter said they've tried numerous advertising campaigns to increase ridership, including offering the service for free to all residents for six months last spring and summer.
He said when that didn't work the municipality had to make an economic choice.
"It puts us in a position where it's [costing us] $640 a day and people just aren't coming out," he said. "We would love to fill that bus, but they just aren't using it."
The mayor said the municipality is looking into alternatives for those who rely on the bus.
Lucas said the argument of economics frustrates him.
"If you're really worried about money, you don't give the service away for free for six months," he said.
Lucas said he filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission but says he was told there was no violation because the service was still being offered.Articled from the CBC RSS Syndication CBC.ca - RSS Feeds Copyright is that of their respective owners (CBC) Calgary News Releases
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