After receiving a letter from a local resident suggesting the promotion of a Bus to Work Week much like the popular Bike to Work Week, city council has decided to approach BC Transit to see if they can re-launch the initiative. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

City of Campbell River looks to partner with BC Transit on Bus To Work Week initiative

When Heather Hughson Mcgee saw the success of Bike To Work Week, she had an idea….

The City of Campbell River will look into forming a partnership with BC Transit that could see the implementation of a Bus To Work Week initiative.

Council received a letter at last week’s meeting from Heather Hughson Magee applauding the city for its efforts in promoting its annual Bike To Work Week, but suggesting that more steps could be taken to get people out of their cars a little more frequently in other ways, as well.

“I take the bus all the time,” Magee says. “But often when I talk to people about taking the bus, they kind of look at me kind of weird. I guess maybe they think it’s kind of dirty or dangerous or lower-class or beneath them or something. But it’s actually a really great way to travel and I think it should be encouraged. It’s great for the environment, it’s clean, it’s safe and it’s fun.”

There’s also a social aspect to mass transit, she says.

“People actually talk to each other,” she says. “You’ll be there waiting for the bus and friendly people come along and you can have a chat and it’s really nice.”

Mcgee says she came up with the idea that spurred her letter to the city when she happened to be at Beachfire Brewing at the end of this year’s Bike to Work Week, “and I was seeing all these people in there celebrating biking and I thought, you know what? I don’t bike, but maybe we could do something like that to get people who would maybe never otherwise take the bus to take a look at it.”

Magee thinks one of the deterrents for people is that they don’t think it’s convenient enough for them, but says that it will never get more convenient if people don’t use it – recognizing that it’s a bit of a Catch-22 situation. People might start to use it more if it was more convenient, but there’s no money to make it more convenient until the ridership increases.

Coun. Ron Kerr told council last week he was the one who encouraged Magee to send in her letter after discussing the idea with her at an art event last month.

“I think it’s much in line with the Bike to Work concept and it’s something that could encourage more ridership on transit,” Kerr said.

“I wholeheartedly agree,” said Mayor Andy Adams, calling it “a great idea” and suggesting that when BC Transit comes to town to perform the official groundbreaking on the new operations and maintenance facility on Evergreen Road, those planning discussions should begin between city staff and representatives from BC Transit to see what kind of partnership can be formed.

Then at Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, it was pointed out by staff that Campbell River had a previous Bus To Work Week initiative in both 2015 and 2016 in September, so this isn’t actually a new concept.

“We were the fist community to do a Bus To Work Week in the province,” said Coun. Charlie Cornfield.

“So I guess we’d better look at getting back on that bus,” Adams said.