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Updated: 20th September 2018 17:03

Cuts to bus service anger Crowsnest Pass residents

Soon the Ride Crowsnest bus will only pick up passengers two days a week instead of three, and residents say this will negatively impact people with mobility issues who rely solely on the bus to get around.

"It sucks that they're going to be taking some of that away now that I've found a little freedom"

Joanne Hickey, David Lucas and Carol Barney say the cuts to the Ride Crowsnest bus service will have a negative impact on their lives. While Lucas says it will cost him more money to take cabs, Hickey and Barney are both wheelchair dependent, and have no other options. (Lucie Edwardson/CBC)

Some people living in the Crowsnest Pass are crying foul over cuts to the local  bus service, Ride Crowsnest.

Soon the bus will only pick up passengers two days a week instead of three.

According to some residents, the move will have a big impact on those with mobility issues.

David Lucas told CBC his main method of transportation is the Ride Crowsnest Bus and when he heard about the impending changes he was angry to know he'd now have to spend upward of $20 on a taxi on days the bus — which costs $3 a trip — isn't running.

But more than that, Lucas said he's worried about those people whose wheelchairs don't fit in the local cabs.

"As far as I'm concerned it's violates human rights because it deprives handicap people of equal access," he said.

Carol Barney — who is wheelchair dependent — says the bus has made her life better.

Crowsnest Pass resident David Lucas says this bus is one of the only options in town for locals who are wheelchair dependent. He believes cutting the service violates their human rights. (Lucie Edwardson/CBC)

"Because I'm in a long-term care facility, I don't really get the chance to interact with the community," she told CBC. 

"But knowing that there's a bus that I can take — because I'm in a wheelchair — it makes it a lot easier to be a part of the community, and it sucks that they're going to be taking some of that away now that I've found a little freedom."

But, Mayor Blair Painter said the bus is under utilized, with only about eight consistent users.

Painter said they've tried numerous advertising campaigns to increase ridership, including offering the service for free to all residents for six months last spring and summer.

 He said when that didn't work the municipality had to make an economic choice.

Crownest Pass mayor, Blair Painter, says the service is under utilized and costing the municipality lots of money. (Lucie Edwardson/CBC)

"It puts us in a position where it's [costing us] $640 a day and people just aren't coming out," he said. "We would love to fill that bus, but they just aren't using it."

The mayor said the municipality is looking into alternatives for those who rely on the bus.

Lucas said the argument of economics frustrates him.

"If you're really worried about money, you don't give the service away for free for six months," he said. 

Lucas said he filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission but says he was told there was no violation because the service was still being offered.

About the Author

Lucie Edwardson

Journalist

Lucie Edwardson is a reporter with CBC Calgary. Lucie most recently headed a pop-up bureau in Lethbridge, Alberta. Her experience includes newspaper, online, TV and radio. Follow her on Twitter @LucieEdwardson

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