I am directed by resolution of Peachland District Council to write to you to express our deep concern over the manner in which timetable changes affecting Peachland’s Route 22 bus service were implemented over the weekend of March 24-26, 2012.
On Friday, March 24, two consecutively scheduled early morning Route 22 buses failed to appear. Riders checked the BC Transit website to establish if service changes had been implemented and were astonished to discover a notice to riders advising that effective March 26, a new Route 22 timetable would take effect. According to the website, 16 weekday trips were to be reduced to five trips and Saturday service was to be almost entirely eliminated. This news was obviously greeted by users with great alarm, as there had been no advance warning or consultation about such changes.
Through subsequent investigation over the weekend (BC Transit offices could not be reached for comment) it was established that the failure of the Friday morning buses to arrive was due to driver sickness and not timetable change. It was also learned from a bus driver and the Kelowna dispatch office that as far as they were aware, there were no plans in place for trip reduction and that the notice and new timetable appearing on the BC Transit website was probably inaccurate.
It was also learned that some minor arrival time adjustments were likely to occur in the following week.
Effective March 27, timetable changes were in fact implemented, however the changes were not minor and not communicated to riders in advance, due to the absence of a Rider’s Guide prior to the timetable changes taking effect. Essentially it was left to riders to discover that several bus departure times had been amended by as much as 16 minutes. Concern was also generated when, after the Rider guide was available, there was no longer a mention of the bus stop at IGA and it appeared that early morning connections at Westbank Exchange would no longer be possible.
The events outlined above were extremely distressing for all concerned and have done nothing to restore confidence in a system which is already under criticism for unreliability, remoteness from users and apparent disregard for effective customer relations.
I would appreciate your assurance that every effort will be made to prevent events such as these from recurring and that some explanation will be forthcoming regarding these matters.
Keith Fielding, Mayor
District of Peachland