Recent History – 1999
Nov. 3, 1999
By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
Wheelchair accessible buses could be on the city streets as early as New Year”s Day, city council learned Monday. As part of a program to replace all buses over 17 years old, B.C. Transit will be replacing the two operating in Dawson Creek with a pair of Dennis low floor buses that can carry two wheelchairs. The buses could begin operating here by as early as Jan. 1, 2000, administrator Jim Noble said.
Dennis Mracek, chair of the Dawson Creek Access Society, welcomed the announcement. “It’s a great start,” he said. “The buses had to be replaced.”
The buses will come slightly more than three years after a workshop on improving life for handicapped people was held in Dawson Creek.
Out of that, improvements to transportation was deemed the number one issue, said Mracek.
Although the buses are an improvement, Mracek said they only stop at bus stops. The next step, he said, would be to bring the Handidart system to Dawson Creek which allows for door-to-door service via a wheelchair accessible van.
Meanwhile, the society is working on improving access to buildings around the city. Mracek noted that the new curling rink includes an elevator to the second floor. But city hall is without an elevator, and Mracek added that the sidewalk along 8th Street needs to be upgraded.
The society is also trying to improve employment opportunities and create affordable housing for handicapped people.
Along with a 20-year life cycle, the buses also present a savings on fuel, to the tune of 1.3 cents per kilometre. Under the current interest rates and leasing opportunities, each bus carried a $36,000 annual lease fee.