Dan Ferguson photoPassengers in Langley get a trial run from the top floor during TransLink’s testing of double-decker buses at select sites.

LETTERS: Second-guessing double-deckers

Editor: Re: 'Fantastic' response, Jan. 19; It's time to get on the buses, Jan. 12 editorial.


Re: ‘Fantastic’ response, Jan. 19.

I never read such a load of claptrap in my life about TransLink’s cockamamie ideas.

I have relied on transit heavily the past 30 years. It used to be that BC Transit/TransLink seemed to be run with an eye to transit riders. Connections connected. Travel between anywhere made sense. But if you’ve tried to travel anywhere that wasn’t connected somehow to SkyTrain lately, you find yourself at bus stops in the middle of nowhere watching traffic for an average of 20 minutes.

I know the NDP/Green’s intentions may have been good when they beefed up schedules, but the reality for those of us not going to major transportation hubs is far from ideal, despite the increased budget. For instance, transit takes an hour from Surrey to Delta. I stand for 20 minutes at each stop to take three buses for a trip that takes 15 minutes by car.

In this article, they detail a plan to bring double-decker service between Bridgeport Station and White Rock. They say a “festive” atmosphere prevailed during this pilot project, but this is a unique route featuring cushioned, airline-type seats. It looked pretty gosh-darned festive already to those of us who have to struggle along the 321 route. There you limp along innumerable stops to Central City as the bus fills up. Children and parents ride that bus, and sometimes between scooters and other parents, we just can’t fit on another stroller!

A 20-minute route takes an hour, and at the end you feel like you want to commit suicide. I wish I was exaggerating, but anyone riding should look around at the other riders! Oh, the humanity!

Coralie McCormick, White Rock

• • •

Re: It’s time to get on the buses, Jan. 12 editorial.

The editorial’s statements that “TransLink has been evaluating the merits of using double-decker buses… on long-distance routes… to Vancouver” were inaccurate and misleading.

Readers should have been informed that the South Surrey/White Rock routes that double-decker buses are being tested on:

1) Are not “long distance” routes along highways or freeways, where buses seldom stop to pick up and drop off passengers;

2) Are not to Vancouver;

3) Are, mainly, going through densely packed communities, with stops every one or two blocks.

The 351 route – from Crescent Beach to/from Richmond’s Bridgeport Station – is a good example:

• Nearly 60 per cent of travel time is between Crescent Beach and the South Surrey Park & Ride, 37 minutes, 48 bus stops;

• There are only two bus stops between the park-and-ride and Bridgeport, 27 minutes travel time.

Instead of double-decker buses, Translink should replace the impractically designed, diesel ‘yellow buses’ with hybrid-fuel, articulated buses, allowing passengers to board/exit from three doors, rather than one, which greatly slows down and often impedes passenger boarding and disembarking.

Articulated buses utilize a ‘low floor’ design, resulting in passengers having only one very small step up from the curb onto the bus – compared to three large steps on ‘yellow buses’ – making boarding and exiting easier for persons with mobility aids, strollers and the like. For decades, the elderly and persons with mobility aids – of which the City of White Rock has a disproportionately high number – have not had their needs and challenges made a priority by TransLink when models of buses have been chosen for South Surrey/White Rock routes.

(Editor’s note: All TransLink buses are wheelchair accessible, though not all bus stops are suitable.)

Replacing all South Surrey/White Rock bus routes’ ‘yellow buses’ with low-floor, articulated buses would go a long way to rectifying this unconscionable situation, something that Surrey’s and White Rock’s city councils should have jointly demanded long ago.

Roderick V. Louis, White Rock

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