Senior ‘in a fury’ over bus changes

West Sidney woman rallies her neighbours to keep direct transit routes

  • Jul. 6, 2011 6:00 p.m.

New transit routes have stirred up concern among West Sidney residents.

Diana Gough is one of them, and she is not going to sit idly by and accept the changes.

“There is no (direct) bus to Sidney, Victoria or the ferry,” she said. “I’m absolutely in a fury, I’m very upset about this.”

Gough was prompted to action after reading about the upcoming changes in the Peninsula News Review a few weeks ago. She posted a notice up in Summergate Village where she lives, informing her neighbours of the changes and asking for their support in keeping the old routes. “There will no longer be the hourly 73 West Sidney to the ferry or Victoria, or the 81 to Saanich Peninsula Hospital or Brentwood Bay. We now need to change in Sidney or at the park and ride. The community bus that passes the village is not as frequent nor as accessible to walkers. It does not go through Sidney to the library or Shoal Centre,” she said.

The new bus routes and interchange favour those travelling to the airport, says Gough. “This should not be at the expense of those who live in West Sidney and their visitors and caregivers. Elderly people and others need direct access to hospitals, appointments and activities,” Gough said.

“The 83 from West Sidney used to go right to Victoria or right to the ferry, now you have to change in Sidney or at the park and ride. It’s very well for (transit officials) to say it’s no big deal, but it is a big deal especially for people with walkers,” said Gough, who explained getting on the smaller community buses is much more difficult for those with mobility restrictions.

Gough’s neighbours in Summergate Village signed her notice as though it were a petition and she presented it to Sidney council last week.

Council passed a motion to send a letter to BC Transit asking that they meet with the Mayor Larry Cross and town staff to discuss transit options for Summergate Village and the surrounding area.

“Especially for the residents of Summergate Village, we want to see at least the same level of service,” said Sidney councillor Steve Price. “Just because BC Transit says it’s going to be this way, it’s not neccessarily cast in stone — hopefully we’ll have some input.”

“It’s not just seniors, it’s the whole Greenglade area, there are a lot of families and children there … I’m concerned not just for me, but for everybody,” said Gough.