UFV students to vote on inter-city bus plan

UFV’s student union society is proposing to hire a private shuttle bus to transport students between the Chilliwack and Abbotsford campuses.

The University of the Fraser Valley’s student union society is proposing to hire a private shuttle bus to transport students between the Chilliwack and Abbotsford campuses. The service’s price tag of $6.75 per student, per year, will come up for a referendum vote in early March.

Currently, the only way to get between the two campuses is by private car, taxi, or the Greyhound bus – a real obstacle for students enrolled in classes at both locations.

“There is right now no affordable transportation option between Chilliwack and Abbotsford,” says Shane Potter, president of the UFV students’ union. Many students without a car simply cannot take classes at another campus.

Travel between the two campuses is significant, and will continue to increase rapidly as UFV moves more of its programming to the Chilliwack campus. Already the new Trades and Technology Centre at the Canada Education Park is drawing Abbotsford students to the city.

Apart from that, the 16,000 UFV students frequently find themselves needing to commute between campuses. For instance, while most first year arts and science students are able to contain their courses to one campus, for upper level courses they will need to travel, says UFV representative Anne Russell. And students with low registration priority may find that the only classes with open seats are in the adjoining city.

“The need for a shuttle transportation option has never been greater,” says Potter.

Fifth year student Anika Geurtsen has had classes at both campuses throughout her university career. Most of her courses have been in Abbotsford, but she resides in Chilliwack.

“I’ve commuted, I’ve carpooled, I’ve driven, I’ve done whatever I can to get to Abbotsford this whole time,” says Geurtsen. She finds the only public transport option, the Greyhound bus, to be inconvenient and time-consuming because it requires passengers to take local public buses to get to and from the inter-city terminals.

“That ended up taking usually more than an hour, or even two hours,” says Geurtsen.

UFV has been lobbying the city for several years to establish a public bus route between Chilliwack and Abbotsford, and the issue is now high priority for the City of Chilliwack. In partnership with Abbotsford and BC Transit, the city has already planned the cost, route, and schedule of the bus. It is now waiting for the issue to rise to top priority for all three partners, and hopes the new bus will be set up within the next year or two.

In the meantime, the proposed UFV shuttle bus would run between 7am and 10pm, about ten times per day, and would be open to students, faculty, and staff. Students can vote on the proposed new shuttle bus March 1-8, 2013, through their online portal.

akonevski@theprogress.com
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