New guide is one-stop-shop for local transport services – Ashcroft Cache Creek Journal
Residents of Ashcroft, Cache Creek and Clinton who want to see what transit services are available in the area – from BC Transit’s community bus to commercial transit to volunteer drivers – can now get all the information in one place, thanks to a transit guide produced by the Ashcroft and Area Community Resources Society (CRS).
The company’s Esther Lang explains that when the pandemic started in the spring of 2020, a local service sprung up to help those who were having difficulty picking up their prescriptions, groceries and mail.
“It was mostly for the quite vulnerable older people and those who were disabled,” she says. Transportation was also offered to people trying to access various local services and in Kamloops, and Lang says the volunteers found there were gaps in the public transportation services that were offered.
“We realized it would be nice if we had something that showed how people could get to their own doctor’s appointments in Kamloops, be more self-sufficient and independent.”
In addition to the BC Transit community bus that serves Ashcroft, Cache Creek and Clinton, the group discovered other options. “I didn’t know there was a tour bus going from Prince George to Kamloops [Adventure Charters], or that the Health Connections bus from Lillooet stops here [in Cache Creek every Tuesday, and in Cache Creek and Ashcroft every Thursday].
“We have found that health facilities in Kamloops are often quite accommodating with appointment dates and times if the client knows the bus schedule.”
There is also a Northern Health medical bus that connects Prince George to Vancouver (with a stop at Cache Creek) every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. It returns from Vancouver to Prince George—again with a stop at Cache Creek—every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Additionally, Adventure Charters stops at Cache Creek on its Prince George to Vancouver trips (Mondays and Thursdays) and on its return trips (Tuesdays and Fridays).
“There are a lot of people who need public transit in various ways and can access some of those services if they can’t drive,” says Lang. “I think these bus companies are trying to cover routes that Greyhound could have covered.”
The guide also lists some private services available to help transport people, some of which are only available on certain days. Lang says that as a last resort, CRS volunteers may be available to drive people.
“Many organizations have given up on providing rides because they don’t have enough people, or no people, to drive. We thought CRS might offer this as a last resort for people trying to get to Kamloops on days when there is no other transportation.
She adds that many people who don’t have their own transportation have friends who have stepped up to fill the void. “After COVID hit, a lot of people helped neighbors and friends. That’s fine, but sometimes there’s a break in the chain.
Although the guide was produced by CRS, Lang says the committee that developed it received input from others. She adds that the guide is part of the company’s mandate to identify gaps in the community and then fill those gaps.
“We used to have mental health workshops, and now the Elizabeth Fry Society is doing this as part of their mandate. We did financial things, and now Community Futures is doing it. We try to fill in the gaps that no one else fills. We don’t want to step on anyone’s toes.
“We mostly network at our meetings and try to find out what’s going on in the community and understand what’s already provided, and then find ways to meet the needs of people who aren’t covered.”
The guide – a joint effort of CRS, Ashcroft and District Lions, the E. Fry Society, Better at Home, the Equality Project and Ramona’s Helping Hands – is available in print format in a wide variety local locations, including the Village Offices in Ashcroft, Cache Creek and Clinton; local libraries; Ashcroft HUB and Ashcroft Hospital; the Clinton Food Bank; the E. Fry Society; Better at home; The Equality Project; the two Ashcroft thrift stores; Hardware for the home; Cafe Junctions; and at the BC Transit bus stop in Ashcroft (outside Rolgear). It can also be viewed and printed on a wide variety of community Facebook pages.
In addition to listing all the available services, the guide contains the phone numbers for each one. “A lot of older people don’t have the internet, so it was important to provide phone numbers for people who couldn’t access websites.
“We wanted to give people options whether they were heading north, south, east or west.”
Even though the guide has only been available for a few days, Lang says he is getting a good response.
“The feedback is quite positive. People say that’s what it takes. We have good feedback from the drivers, and we have had feedback from all the places where we put the guide, and everything went well.