May 18th, 2024

Where is the truth about the city transit system?

By Letter to the Editor on September 30, 2021.

In my last letter, I stated “How to sweep the truth under the rug” when I referred to the City Transit information. Today, I saw an article about how There is a “Special meeting of council set for Monday on EMS consolidation.”
In the article, there was a part about how “Alberta Health Services has so far still not released the statistics it promised on how the decision to centralize dispatch is impacting local service levels.” They are going to the Ombudsman to get that information. Where do we go to get the truth about the bus service in Lethbridge?
Tim Sanderson states that the issues are being dealt with but does he ride the bus on a daily basis? CityLINK opened up a Facebook page and got 25 comments right off the bat.
I have been told that 23 of the comments were removed as they were negative comments to the service. So, the Facebook page is a waste. Calling 311 is another waste because if you don’t agree with them, will we hear about it? Pass the buck to someone else. Delete it.
Let’s look at this problem.
You have money for a car, a smart phone and other necessary luxuries. You go to college or university, so you’re smart with technology. (By the way, did you know that university students pay for a bus pass whether they use it or not?)
You can phone 311 because you have no data problems or communication problems and you are young enough to understand the new world. The bus service works for you. On the other hand, you are a person who is raising children on your own, you live paycheck to paycheck, you have no smart phone, and you have a communication problem for whatever reason. You cannot phone 311 and you cannot get to work safely. You have been attacked walking to or from work because you have no other way of getting there. But that doesn’t matter to the bus service because they do not listen to the old, the disabled and the different nationalities. Their money does not come from them but, wait, it does even if it is a small amount.
The comment that people are not being able to go to work because they chose to sit at home with some arbitrary money from the government and they are lazy has other reasons. Some people cannot work because of the bus service that does not provide them a way to get there. They have not got the ability to get children to daycares and to get to work on time when it can take up to two hours to do that now. We love to believe that it is the other person’s fault rather than look at our own consequences. Well, what are you doing to help others work?
I am now providing rides to a son that cannot use the bus system anymore because of communication issues and to a grandchild who cannot get safely to and from work because there are no buses for they/them to take in the morning and at nighttime.
Living paycheque to paycheque does not give extra money for taxes so help has to come from friends and families which limits someone who is here on their own. Still there are solutions. It is too expensive to use the big buses. However, the bus services use the Access-A-Ride buses for daytime which interferes with the services for the disabled and seniors but don’t think about how they could use smaller buses at nighttime.
The Access-A-Ride buses also shut down at 10 p.m. which is why drivers get nasty when the rider is not ready 20 minutes earlier than they booked originally. Drivers on the regular routes and Access-A-Ride buses think nothing of being 20 minutes early but will not help people who have a hard time always being earlier because of medical issues. A schedule is one thing but putting pressure on drivers to be ahead of the time creates even more problems for the riders. “Buses are on time 25 percent more” does not help with schedules not matching up so riders have to sit around at sketchy places for 25 minutes. The buses are on time but people are being late for work more now than ever. Pat yourself on the back all you want but the job that you are doing is questionable.
It is time for Lethbridge to be honest and start to help all their citizens and not just the few special important ones. If this makes me a socialist, so be it. I know that I am a person who came up the hard way as did my son and if it had not been for caring programs and caring people, I would be on the streets and not doing a productive job as I am today.
Every person is worth it and has value to our society.
Lillian Westling

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How did a letter this long get published? This woman needs to hone her writing skills and make her point in a paragraph vs long winded rambling.


great letter that hits upon very serious concerns for those dependent upon a decent public transit system. right now, this is the very worst it has been in the 20-odd years i have lived in lethbridge. i do not use the system, but did frequently – it was not so good, and i found a second bike for $15 was a far better option save for when the roads were icy. i know what it is like to be poor such that lethbridge public transit is a need. i know people that depend on public transit to get to work and home; only now, the system is far too undependable. someone finishing a shift at park place mall could not get a bus following their shift at 8:30; and, if that is not absurd enough, the weekend options are even more sparse, whereby people have to walk a half mile to get a bus. those behind this latest scheduling – and i say latest because the system has been toyed with repeatedly over the last number of years – present as incompetent and unbelievably out of touch with those in need of the service.
as for the critical response to this letter, once again there is the stench of fetid feedlot blowing through the digital air.