Bus company says No to Shuttle for folkies

The Coast Mountain Bus Company has refused to run a shuttle for the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, which will attract 10,000 attendees per day from Friday to Sunday (July 18 to 20). Folk fest managing director Barbara Chirinos told the Straight she’s been lobbying for the service, which would take passengers from the SkyTrain station and parking lot at Vancouver Community College’s King Edward campus to Jericho Beach Park and back.

“The festival has always been known for its activities in sustainability, the environment, and ecology, and we know that we have a huge impact on the neighbours of West Point Grey with the onslaught of cars that come into the area,” she said. “It is bizarre [that Coast Mountain Bus refused].”¦It’s like the chicken and the egg. I can’t prove to them how much they’re going to have in ridership because there is no bus that returns to the East Side.”

At last year’s fest, just 17 percent rode the bus and 51 percent drove a vehicle (the rest walked, cycled, or were passengers), according to a survey commissioned by Chirinos.

Coast Mountain Bus Company spokesperson Derek Zabel pointed out that the #84 bus runs along 4th Avenue, right by the festival, to VCC. However, that bus stops running before 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and by 8 p.m. Sunday. The folk fest’s evening concerts end well after 10 p.m. The #4 and #7, which run within a few blocks of the festival, offer about seven buses total from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. At a capacity of 50 to 55 passengers each, that caps postconcert ridership at fewer than 400.

“With the #4 servicing that area, we feel we have service in that area that should be able to handle it,” Zabel told the Straight. “If extra is needed, it will be brought in. We will have transit supervisors monitoring that situation in the area.”

Zabel said that the PNE, with its extremely large crowds and long duration, merits shuttles, but the folk fest is a smaller event. He also said that the #4 is “accessible” for the first time in 2008, meaning it can accommodate two wheelchairs or two strollers.

Chirinos estimated that a dependable shuttle could attract 5,000 riders each morning and evening.

“I’m going to continue to fight for it,” she said. “It could possibly be expanded to other festivals in similar situations, like Bard on the Beach and the [Vancouver International] Children’s Festival, because travel and parking for patrons is really difficult.”




Jul 17, 2008 at 9:32am

Oh, come to Ladner and South Delta, we have four (yes four) wee shuttle buses that run empty all day, every day during the week. Surely, Translink could use these buses for the 'Folk Fest'. In fact, TransLink has scores of wee shuttle buses trundling here and there, with little or no passengers, certainly such an organization could spare a few to cater to the needs of people would would use a bus?

Guess not and another shining example of an outfit that, "could not plan for an outhouse, let alone understand its function."

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