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UBC Reports | Vol. 49 | No. 3 | Mar. 6, 2003

New Bus Makes it Safe to Go to School

A UBC-community partnership solves the problem

By Brian Lin

Children attending University Hill Elementary School can now get to and from school more conveniently and safely thanks to a unique UBC-community partnership.

Launched last November, the U-Hill Bus Program runs between the Acadia housing area and the elementary school each morning and afternoon for $10 per month per student. The initiative is a collaboration of the school’s Parent Advisory Committee, TransLink, the RCMP and UBC’s TREK Program Centre.

“It’s exciting to see the community pull together,” says Gord Lovegrove, UBC’s director of Transportation Planning, whose own child has attended U-Hill Elementary. He knows first-hand the traffic problems, and the security and safety concerns associated with UBC residents with young children having to make the long trip to School.

“We used to walk and bike to school, travelling down Acadia Road,” recalls Lovegrove. “Crossing the crosswalks was a little dicey, especially when the RCMP weren’t there to patrol in morning rush hour to ensure that traffic slowed down or stopped for pedestrians and cyclists. The odd time I tried driving Sarah on rainy days was also a pain because there were always long line-ups and no space to pull over.”

Lovegrove says the situation was the hardest on single parents who worked and lived on UBC campus, and wanted to make sure their kids got to and from school safely.

“They had to either arrive at work / classes later and leave earlier to pick up their kids, or pay extra money for day care before and after school,” says Lovegrove. “It also weighs heavily on parents to decide whether it was safe enough for their children to travel on their own, tempted to short-cut through Pacific Spirit Park.”

With more than 180 subscribers and buses regularly packed to standing-room capacity, students, school officials and parents -- most of whom are UBC faculty, staff and students -- are calling it a godsend.

“Traffic problems around the school have virtually disappeared,” says Fred Pritchard, director of Campus and Community Planning. “The demand on the RCMP has been eliminated and TransLink has filled two otherwise idle buses.”

Lovegrove says the program provides a model for partnerships between UBC and the surrounding communities, and exemplifies UBC’s commitment to build safer, more complete communities for recruitment and retention of world-class personnel.

“Programs like this say to potential faculty, students and staff: ‘Come to UBC, we care about your families as well, your children are taken care of from door to door.’”

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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