Trolley bus test-drive a hit in Aldergrove
Inspired by the example of Langford, people in the Aldergrove community are rallying around a proposal to start up a community trolley bus service here by this spring.
There is transit bus service running east to Abbotsford and west to Vancouver, but this only serves the downtown core of Aldergrove. Those travelling north to Gloucester Industrial Estates or south to the border area have no transit options whatsoever.
TransLink has committed to a study on proposed service extension of its #502 bus to Gloucester, but until this service is provided the 8,000 workers at Gloucester require private vehicles to get to their jobs. This makes it difficult for some companies to attract employees and for this reason several of the companies have lent their support to the Aldergrove Transportation Initiatives Committee and a proposed privately-operated shuttle bus service.
EV Logistics, for example, employs 700 at their warehouses and expect to hire 300 people in the coming year. For this reason the Jim Pattison-owned company has contributed $3,000 to the Transportation Initiatives Committee.
EV Logistics also hosted the Langford trolley bus on Nov. 3 during its one-day visit to Aldergrove, and about two dozen of their employees "were thrilled to bits" to take a ride on it, said Dave Miller, chair of the Transportation Initiatives Committee.
"All of them are currently driving but said they would prefer to leave their cars at home with their spouses if this bus service was available," said Miller.
The bus arrived in Aldergrove at noon and Miller spent the day riding on it and showing it to prospective users in the community before it left for the ferry back to Vancouver Island at 6:30 p.m.
"We got an outstanding response," said Miller.
"People were waving at us from the streets, we had to stop for people to take photographs and we gave several families a tour of the area."
The bus travelled around Gloucester and Aldergrove's residential area several times, as well as a trip south to the U.S. border on 272 Street and along Zero Avenue to 248 Street and up to Otter Co-op and Fraser Highway before returning to Aldergrove.
Langford Mayor Stew Young said their service was an immediate hit when it was started up as an adjunct to the BC Transit buses serving Victoria and area four years ago. The trolley was donated by Langford businesses and developers and rides are by donation only.
Young says the trolleys have been a catalyst for Langford business growth by enabling residents to shop locally.
Miller, a retired former CEO of Albion Ferries, says they are aiming to replicate this model in Aldergrove.
"We''re hoping for a snowball effect," said Miller. "Kelly Knight at K-line Trucking in Gloucester has committed to up to $1,000 a year in free servicing for the (bio-diesel) trolley and he's also canvassing businesses there for their support of this project. Freybe European Sausages has also come on board with a donation and support."
The committee is looking for a used trolley in Wisconsin and Las Vegas and expects the price tag to be in the area of $20,000.
Miller says daily service would likely begin at 7 a.m. with a number of trips between the main Aldergrove bus stop and Gloucester, before making possible trips to Zero Avenue and Glen Valley-Fort Langley.
"I welcome enquiries and input on route suggestions from anyone interested in supporting this," said Miller.
He said the public can call him at 604-856-0215 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
(For more information see story: http://www.aldergrovestar.com/news/133174918.html