With many college and university campuses closed and more people working from home, it’s no surprise that the number of people using public transportation has decreased significantly since the pandemic began.
In Prince George, the number of drivers has dropped 45 percent, according to BC Transit, but officials hope a five- to seven-year plan to improve service for the city’s buses will encourage people – especially students – to get back on board City buses.
“It was obviously a big challenge,” said Lindsay Taylor, BC Transit Manager, Northern BC Government Relations, at CBC’s Daybreak North.
“The student population actually makes up 50 percent of our drivers.”
She said that with the students still studying remotely, BC Transit is focused on its future action plan and what public transportation in the northern city will be like once the students return to campus.
Some of the improvements listed in the action plan include a new bus connection to the airport, the implementation of additional buses to routes between college, university and downtown, and making sure the buses have GPS so people know when they are arriving.
“We are very excited to have these students back on campus in September … and we will have the service to meet that demand,” said Taylor. “All of this is going to make for a really enjoyable experience … and I think we’ll see our drivers show up because of it.”
City council approves
The future action plan was presented to Prince George’s City Council earlier this week, which supported the proposed improvements.
“I was a great user of the [88 Westgate/89 Hart] I spent about 20 hours a week on this bus in my college years, “Coun. Cori Ramsay told our community during the council meeting.”
She said residents had asked for an airport transit option for years.
“I think airport service would likely be some kind of five to seven year service improvement,” said Taylor. “But … it is up to the council when they want to prioritize these improvements.”
She said BC Transit would learn from the provincial government on April 20 how much money they would be given to tackle some of the proposed upgrades.
LISTEN | Lindsay Taylor speaks about BC Transit’s future action plan for Prince George at Dawn North:
Daybreak north6:55Faster routes, more frequent departures, and airport service on Prince George’s transit schedule
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