Recent History 1999
Nov. 30, 1999
By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
Getting around town has suddenly become a lot easier for people like Arnold Bennington and Dennis Mracek.
While Bennington must use crutches while he isn’t riding a scooter, Mracek is wheelchair bound, and neither could use the public transit system.
But that changed on Monday with the arrival of a Dennis Dart to Dawson Creek. Bennington and Mracek were among the first to give the new low-floor bus a try, and both were impressed.
“It was very good,’ said Bennington who added that he was able to use such buses when he was living in Vernon.
Mracek, who chairs the Dawson Creek Access Society, said he was also happy, but added that he hopes the drivers get some training in how to deal with those in wheelchairs.
Thanks to fold-up seats and special tie downs, the bus can carry two wheelchair passengers. As well, to allow such passengers on, the bus ‘kneels’ and deploys a hydraulic ramp in just six seconds.
Bennington said he had no trouble getting on, but he had to make a few short turns before he could turn himself around and get off the bus after the ride.
But he said it will make life much easier, particularly in winter.
A second Dennis Dart will arrive in Dawson Creek in December. The two replace a couple of 17-year-old buses and can carry up to 28 seated passengers, and with the standees, 49 in all.
Each of the buses costs about $380,000 but won’t mean an increase in the amount the city pays to B.C. Transit for the service, said assistant administrator Jim Chute, because the cost is defrayed across the province.
The system cost the city $198,400 to run in 1999.