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Bus Roadeo celebrates 40 years of transit in Prince George

If you drove by the Aquatic Centre Friday it might have looked like an ordinary BC Transit training session. Buses were moving around (and over) pylons, Transit folks were walking around in high-vis vests recording things on clipboards, and trainees were nervously awaiting their tun behind the wheel.

If you were driving by the Aquatic Centre Friday, you should have given the parking lot a wide berth. Members of the media, local politicians, and key stakeholders had an opportunity to get behind the wheel of a transit bus in the Prince George Bus Roadeo.

The event was a celebration of 40 years of BC Transit service in Prince George, in partnership with the Province of B.C., the City of Prince George and Pacific Western Transportation.

The Bus Roadeo offered participants, a majority of whom have no commercial driving experience, the chance to drive a 35-foot transit bus in a closed course with a professional driver trainer. The course tested participants’ ability to turn right and left, rear wheel obstacle, and diminishing distance.

“The Bus ‘Roadeo’ helps us showcase the technical aspects of what our operators go through every day,” said Rob Ringma, manager, government relations, for BC Transit. “The opportunity here is to let people experience that first hand.”

Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall, who won the Best Left Turn award for his driving, was one of the participants.

“The Prince George Bus ‘Roadeo’ is a fun way of reminding us of the critical role public transportation has played in the development of Prince George as a city,” said Hall. “Providing transit really is an essential service for thousands of residents and, as I can now tell you from first-hand experience, driving these buses takes a lot of skill! On behalf of Council, I would like to thank BC Transit and Pacific Western Transportation for continuing to work with us to make first-rate, reliable, and safe transportation readily available for all residents.”

BC Transit started serving Prince George on November 6, 1978, with eight routes and a three-zone fare system. The adult single-zone fare was 35 cents, and a three-zone fare was 75 cents.

A lot has changed in the system since those early days.  Some key milestones over the years include the introduction of the U-PASS at the University of Northern B.C. and the College of New Caledonia, the introduction of weekend and holiday service and improved service frequency.

Today, the conventional system consists of 16 routes, 27 buses and 66,000 service hours, and carries.9 million passengers a year.

handyDART, which provides door-to-door service for registered customers, has seven buses and 14,000 service hour. It carries 67,000 passengers a year.

Certificate recipients – Overall winner and obstacle winners

Best Overall Score

Val Hunsaker, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure

Best Right Turn

Tara Jones, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure

Best Left Turn

City of Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall

Best Right Rear Tire Clearance

Tara Jones, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure

Best Diminishing Clearance

Adam Homes, City of Prince George

Best Judgement Stop

Val Hunsaker, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure

 

Overall scores

Val Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure 54

Greg Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure 65

Adam City of Prince George 73

Cody 94.3 The Goat 75

Tara Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure 79

Mike 101.3 The River 82

Curtis Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure 86

Bill Prince George Daily News   100

Laurie City of Prince George 100

Frank Prince George Citizen 106

Dave City of Prince George 113 

Megan Capri Insurance 113

JD 101.3 River 120

Tristian City of Prince George 120

Mayor Lyn Hall City of Prince George132

Chico PG Cougars 138

Kurt Country 97FM  140

Chris City of Prince George 140

Loralyn UNBC 149

Olivia CKPG 154

Megan City of Prince George 168

Fraser City of Prince George   180

Kyle Vista Radio 190

Champa City of Prince George 194

 

 

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