Brakes put on free New Year’s Eve bus rides

Free bus rides will not be offered this New Years as a result from trouble last year.

New Year’s Eve party-goers will not be revelling on free bus rides in Trail this year after drunk and rowdy youth left drivers and their security officers concerned about their own safety last Jan. 1.

“Historically Trail has had New Year’s Eve service,” confirmed Meribeth Burton, BC Transit spokesperson. “But because of the incidents the last couple of years the operating company and their security have certainly made their case from a safety perspective,” she said.

“And BC Transit is in full support of the operating company and the local government not to offer the service this year.”

Last year, approximately 200 intoxicated youth surrounded the 1 a.m. free ride in Rossland, which prompted a call for RCMP escorts and a review of the service in general.

Although Sergeant Rob Hawton of the Greater Trail detachment said the youth had dispersed and no charges were laid, the West Kootenay Transit Committee decided it was time to put the brakes on the free rides.

“It’s unfortunate because it takes only a few to spoil it for the many,” said Burton. “But it was dangerous two years ago and became more dangerous last year. Common sense had to prevail.”

B.C. Transit operates free extended hours in 132 communities New Year’s Eve, however Castlegar is the only local community continuing to offer the service.

“Going forward we may look at going to certain areas and not necessarily going to the pit where people are hanging out,” said Burton. “But for this year, after the service was used and abused, there will be no free rides.”

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