The other day I took a round-trip community bus tour of 100 Mile, 103 Mile and 108 Mile Ranch.
It cost me $2, way cheaper than driving my car.
And I had someone to talk to, actually four people: driver David Oliphant and three passengers.
Oliphant has been driving the community bus for 10 months. He didn’t know what to expect when he first got behind the wheel but now he loves it.
“I used to work at the OSB mill before it closed so this is a whole career change for me,” he said. “Nice to meet some interesting people.”
The BC Transit buses make the route between 100 Mile and 108 Mile Ranch four times a day Monday to Friday, with a special service on Thursdays to Lac La Hache. It also offers a HandyDART system, providing door-to-door, accessible transit for those unable to get to the bus stop.
On average between 20 and 40 people ride his bus each day, Oliphant said.
“Every day is a little different, but there are definitely people all day long. Some days slower, some days busier.”
On Tuesday, he made a house call to pick up Barb Nowell, who was using the HandyDART service to get to FreshCo. She needed a break from the heat.
READ MORE: Hot July Nights roaring success in 100 Mile
Stacey Jones, general manager for 100 Mile’s transit system, said she drove bus for 11 years and loved it because she got to know the regulars.
“I was driving the regular route and pretty much everybody became family. We have our own little community inside the bus, it’s kind of cool,” Jones, 56, said.
She still drives the Health Connection bus every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, taking people from 100 Mile House to appointments at Cariboo Memorial Hospital in Williams Lake.
Tammy Boulanger, 100 Mile’s director of finance, used to take the bus from her home in 108 Mile Ranch to her office when she first started working at the district nearly 20 years ago.
“A monthly pass for $35 a month to ride to and from the 108, you can’t even fill a gas tank for that,” Boulanger said.
“It provides a wonderful, affordable service for residents within the service area.
“The drivers who deliver the service are kind and they truly care about the riders. This is a taxpayer-funded service, the seats should be filled.”
The bus is available for anyone to ride, and is free to children under 12.
Oliphant said he looks forward to every day on the bus. Those wanting to take a ride can find information or schedules at www.bctransit.com
“I can’t say I have a favourite moment per se, but probably some of the connections you make with people can be rewarding.”