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This Town Needs a Bus….

On Friday, I had to go into town for Joe. He asked me to deposit a cheque that came in the mail for him, and his bank is over a mile away. I took the opportunity to also go to the Extra Foods, as the sale flier announced “Dollar Days” and I thought it’d be a good way to stretch my money.

My ankle/foot had been bothering me for several days and so I kept putting off the trip because 2 miles round trip plus whatever other walking I did was going to be hell on my leg….but I told Joe I’d go by Friday for him, so I put on the cheap ankle brace I bought my first week in town and headed out.

And I was in pain within a half a block. This town needs a bus. Even if they just run 2 busses up and down Main Street from the Safeway/Wal-Mart parking lot into town and maybe terminating around the post office, it would be an improvement. I actually gave it some thought. Most of the side streets aren’t deep enough that someone couldn’t walk up to main street to get a bus, so the bus wouldn’t need to divert from main street. A bus over to the greyhound and over to the little airport a few times/day (around the times of departures/arrivals) would probably help out, too. (The train station is off Main, so it’d be covered). I’m sure a bus is the pipe dream of anyone in this town who is car-less or who is a teenager (of course, I don’t know if Canadian teens are “mall rats” the same way US teens are or not). A bus would be most beneficial during the wintertime, when I’ve been told your nose will freeze within a minute of being outside, and the few weeks of Summer they get here (those days when I was complaining I was so hot). It would benefit older Canadians who still drive because they have no other choice, injured people, teenagers, people who don’t drive, and even those who do drive who might not want to drive daily.

One thing I noticed in town was the lack of people out on the streets walking, but a tonne of cars on the street. The town reminds me of places like State College and Ann Arbor – small towns that have a “main drag” where pretty much all the stores/restaurants are. but the main difference between State College, Ann Arbor, and here? The two US towns are car un-friendly, and have a bus system – even some free loops to assist people (Silver Adept and I took the free bus in Ann Arbor several times when it was really cold out and I was visiting him, and when I went to Penn State, we were always on the Loop).

If Dauphin did start up even a small bus loop on Main Street, it would also bring commerce into the town and bring people to jobs – Living over where Sarah and Joe do, the closest stores are the Safeway and Wal-Mart, both across the street,and both US-based companies. But a mile into town, there’s an Extra Foods and a Co-Op, both Canadian owned and even a bit cheaper on prices. Currently, I’ve been walking down to Extra Foods, or going with C to Co-Op, but I think if I was here in the wintertime, I wouldn’t want to walk quite that far. A bus that I only had to walk a few meters to catch that would take me there and back would be favourable! The mall is hiring – many of the shops have “help wanted” signs…and if there was a bus in place, the people who lived in town and needed a job but had no car could take jobs out at the mall. Downtown has a lot of empty store fronts and stores “going out of business”. I wonder if the reason is because people don’t walk around in town to go to those stores. If there was a bus for getting up and down main street, some of the fledgling businesses might see more action. People wouldn’t have to bother with trying to find a rare parking spot on the street if they wanted to check out a store they drove past, just hop off the bus.

Not to mention the environmental impact all those cars are making. How many people who drive everywhere would be willing to ride the bus if one existed? Could a bus really lessen the number of cars on a street? I think so.

This whole thing stemmed from me being in lots of pain, and being unwilling to call for a taxi. Taxi’s are way too expensive, IMHO to use daily, and my money is tight up here, so I didn’t want to have to stretch it any farther, so I stuck it out. And now I’m in pain. I have a bruise right above my ankle on the back of my leg, and I think it’s from the strain I put on my leg because I was being extra careful with my foot.

And of course, like all ideas, there’s the possibility it’s just not feasible or has already been looked into and determined to not work out for the town. I don’t live here, so I don’t know….but I definitely was wishing for a bus while I was walking on Friday!

I’m just hoping I don’t have to walk all the way down to the bank again before I leave!

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  1. Sarah Rainsberger September 14th, 2008 13:11

    Did you know Joe and I actually priced out what it would cost to pay for a bus ourselves?! With all our travel, we’re not even there enough to make it worth it, but we have seriously looked into even providing this ourselves for the town, free of charge.

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