Pembertonians recently voted on the best use of public money. Truth be told, if public money is truly being well-spent, it’s likely to be on something that no one really thinks about, something that runs quietly, smoothly, and efficiently in the background, allowing people to go about their everyday lives. Something like… might we suggest… public transit?
Here’s our case for why Pemberton Transit, a truly awesome collaboration between Lil’wat Nation, Village of Pemberton and the SLRD, ranks as one of the best uses of public money in our neighbourhood.
1. The net local government cost is about $120,000. This is shared between Area C of the SLRD, Lil’wat Nation and the Village of Pemberton. Fares and BC Transit add to the total service cost of around $500,000. Says Peter DeJong, the SLRD’s Director of Administrative Services, “It’s really a local success story. All three local governments have been working well together. We’ve been able to establish that everyone is paying their proper share and getting value for the service they contribute to.”
2. You can count on it. In the spring, the SLRD, Village of Pemberton and Lil’wat Nation signed a 3 year partnership, and with 3 year budget assurance from BC Transit, that means you can count on the service. Explains DeJong, “We’ve refined the service as best we can in terms of efficiencies, and now the schedule is stable.” That means you can count on no seasonal changes. No sudden drops in service.
3. 4 round-trips to and from Whistler, every day. The service utilizes 2 dedicated-to-Pemberton BC Transit buses, supplemented by 6 Greyhound round-trips per day, discounted to the same price per ride as the transit tickets. (Note: Greyhound has just applied to reduce service throughout the Sea to Sky Corridor – check out the details at slrd.bc.ca and submit your comments to the Passenger Transportation Board by October 17 to protect the service.)
4. The local service is for everyone. The service is contracted out to locally operated Pemberton Taxi because it’s a much better use of tax dollars. Although the mini-van is not as easily identified as a Public Transit bus, it runs 7 trips daily between the Village of Pemberton and Mt Currie/Xit’olacw, and ties in to the Whistler commuter schedule.
5. A second car might be your family’s biggest money-pit. A monthly transit pass for an adult costs $95. The cost of fuel for a month of commuting is on average $192. By trading your second car in for an annual bus pass, you could save over $12,000 in insurance, maintenance and other expenses.
6. The bus drivers are really nice. Plus, they do all the work and you can read a book or catch a few extra Zzzzs.
7. It’s good for your eco karma.
8. You don’t have to make carpool chitchat when you’re still half asleep.
9. It’s affordable. Children under 4 ride for free, and seniors and students enjoy a discount. For adults, the local fare is $2.50 per ride, or $20 for a 10-pack. The Whistler/Pemberton Commuter is $4.50 or $36 for a 10-pack. Monthly and annual passes are also available, which drops the cost per ride substantially.
10-pack transit tickets and monthly passes are available in Mt Currie from Lil’wat Gas Station and the Xit’olacw Tsipun Store. In Pemberton, 10-pack transit tickets and monthly passes or the 20 pack Greyhound tickets are available from the SLRD office and the Cottonwood Community Centre. (Note: You can also buy the discounted Greyhound tickets from the depot in the Village and Municipal Hall in Whistler sells commuter transit tickets and passes, as well as discount Greyhound tickets.)
10. And it’s OURS! Pemberton Transit. Check it out. Download a copy of the schedule at http://www.slrd.bc.ca/siteengine/activepage.asp?PageID=91 or here (Pemberton Valley Transit – Combined Winter Schedule (2011-12) ), or at http://www.transitbc.com/regions/pem/.
After arriving at post No. 1 last Wednesday (Sept. 26) to catch the bus to Pemberton, I noticed that the shelter was deserted.
Normally there are at least 10 or 15 people there, so I figured I had missed something … and not just the bus. I asked another driver about the scheduled departure time. He told me: “Yes sir, you are late, he left two minutes ago.”
Apparently I had not kept up with the latest schedule change. However, he did not hesitate, immediately getting on his radio and asking the Pemberton driver (Mark) if he could come back. The supervisor on duty (Terry) overheard the conversation and took charge. He directed Mark to continue to Meadow Park and wait there while he came to the gondola exchange to pick me up and drive me to the waiting Pemberton bus at Meadow Park.
Now, that’s service.
I read a few negative comments about Whistler Transit over the last few months, so I thought that they deserve some praise too. Way to go Terry and Mark and the unknown driver of Connector 1 who set all this in motion. Terry also provided me with a Rider’s Guide, but unfortunately the Pemberton schedule is not included in it, so I guess I can use that as my excuse for missing the bus.
As a bonus, the other commuters were not too upset having to wait for my personalized arrival. Thanks very much for the excellent level of customer service from a Pemberton commuter.
Do you have an experience with Pemberton Transit you’d like to share? Comment here.