Carol Dawson (left) and Shirley Simpson circulated a petition demanding changes to the bus route that downtown seniors use to get to the Campbell River hospital. Mayor Andy Adams announced changes he hopes will make a difference earlier this week at the city’s financial planning deliberations. Mirror File Photo

Changes coming to Campbell River transit routes downtown and to hospital

‘Some gaps that were of concern’ addressed in latest service tweak

MIRROR STAFF

The seniors behind a petition to change a bus route that serves elderly residents of downtown Campbell River are ecstatic their efforts were successful.

“That was great news,” said Shirley Simpson one of the petition’s creators.

Simpson learned the changes were coming last week and the news gladdened her heart.

“I was in tears, I tell you,” Simpson said.

The city issued a press release Dec. 5 saying that the route changes requested by Simpson and fellow senior Carol Dawson’s petition would be implemented this spring and Mayor Andy Adams discussed the changes at council’s city budget deliberations this week.

“Council has made it very clear to BC Transit that continued improvements are required and the public has some significant concerns,” Adams said. “Council has entered into an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with BC Transit to look into opportunities to add and improve services in the future, however, we did identify some gaps that were of concern.”

One of those significant gaps, Adams says, was Route 7, which the city asked BC Transit to improve so as to have it route down Ironwood Street and increase access for seniors living in that corridor to Discovery Harbour Shopping Centre.

That change is expected to take place in April 2019. While Adams had hoped it could happen faster, he says that by adding Ironwood and Discovery Harbour, “it adds seven minutes to that route, so there are some adjustments required to other route schedules where there are connections and transfers.”

Another change being made, Adams says, will address concerns raised by seniors in the Mirror in November about the nearest transit stop at the hospital being on 2nd Avenue rather than at the hospital itself. Before the new hospital was constructed, the entrance was much closer to that bus stop, but now it is a much farther walk – especially for those dependent on walkers or canes.

Adams says the bus will now be routed through the hospital parking lot itself and have the drop-off/pick-up point for people “right at the front door.”

“This was part of the original transportation plan for the hospital and the change will happen ASAP,” Adams says. “The route change will also provide better services to the Alder Medical Clinic by remaining on Birch Street through to Merecroft.”

Meanwhile, Simpson expressed gratitude to everyone who supported the petition. When they turned it in Nov. 30, they had 1,580 signatures. Simpson, Dawson and a half-dozen other seniors put in the leg work – literally – to gather signatures.

Simpson said that whenever they approached people, they were quick to sign the petition and “everybody had a story” about the troubles the bus system was giving them.

“We finally got somebody to listen to us,” Simpson said. “I I guess you have to take that extra step.

“We’d just like to thank everybody who supported us.”

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