UBC Reports | Vol. 49 | No. 3 | Mar.
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 schools Parent Advisory Committee,
TransLink, the RCMP and UBCs TREK Program Centre.
Its exciting to see the community pull together,
says Gord Lovegrove, UBCs 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 werent
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
UBCs 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.