Three new BC Transit buses have been added to the fleet for Williams Lake.
They are smaller — measuring 9.14 metres long with seating room for 24 passengers — and are all accessible with mechanized wheelchair ramps.
“One of the biggest issues we have had to deal with over the years is the size of the buses and ridership,” Mayor Walt Cobb said Thursday morning as members of Williams Lake city council and the city’s manager of development services rode in one of the new buses, travelling from city hall to nearby Boitanio Park. “We finally convinced BC Transit that we need smaller buses.
Smaller capacity buses are more cost-efficient, because very few of the bus routes have full capacity, Cobb added.
“The only one that will be an issue, might be the one that goes to Thompson Rivers University, but we are prepared to put on an extra half-hour run if needed.”
Bus driver Rob said the new buses handle well in the snow.
Coun. Scott Nelson said having brand new buses is also a plus.
“They are more efficient, there will be less break-downs,” Nelson said, noting the buses have bike racks as well. “It’s going to be a huge upgrade for Williams Lake. We didn’t want any second hand buses, so council took the position and negotiated to have brand new buses. We are very excited.”
BC Transit senior regional transit manager Chris Fudge was unable to fly into Williams Lake due to the weather, but in a written statement said the new buses have closed circuit television cameras.
“We have already installed CCTV cameras in communities across the province, and we have seen immediate benefits from the cameras,” Fudge said. “The cameras have been instrumental in supporting law enforcement, especially when there is an unfortunate incident on a bus such as an assault of an operator.”
Each bus cost $319,000 and is funded by the Province of B.C. and by lease to the City of Williams Lake.
Cobb said the new buses will not increase the City’s transit costs.
Read More: Senior protests bench removal from bus shelter