Future of free New Year’s Eve Greater Trail bus rides still pending

Decisions are still to be made about free New Year's Eve bus rides after an incident with youths surrounding a bus last January.

Last call is pending on a service providing free bus rides to New Year’s Eve revelers after “rowdy youth” surrounded a bus Jan. 1 in Rossland and started banging on it.

Coupled with “general bad behaviour,” the actions prompted RCMP and the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB)—who offers the service in partnership with BC Transit—to review the free service, one-day service.

RDKB chief administrative officer John MacLean said the regional district has made everybody aware of the problems stemming from the incident and concerns were raised.

But the matter won’t be officially addressed until RDKB board and sub-committee budgets are nailed down, pushing a decision back to the fall.

“We’re kind of caught in a quandary. The reason we run that service is so that drunk people don’t drive, and then drunk people act like drunk people,” he said.

“Clearly we are very troubled that people felt threatened, and there were people not of the rowdy nature that did not feel comfortable because of the rowdy nature of the other folks.”

A decision will be made whether or not, or in what way, the service will be provided, probably early in the fall, MacLean added.

In early January Meribeth Burton, spokesperson for BC Transit, said approximately 200 drunk and rowdy youth surrounded a bus in Rossland around 1 a.m., giving rise to a call for RCMP.

There was a security officer on the bus, a safety measure implemented three years ago.

“In the last three years, there has been problems with intoxicated youth, on our buses (in Greater Trail),” she said at the time.

No charges were laid in the incident since most of the youth had dispersed by the time police arrived.

Regional fares

Regional fares won’t be coming to Greater Trail until summer.

The regional transit committee dealing with the fusion of the region’s disparate bus services—including Trail, Rossland, Castlegar, the regional districts of Kootenay Boundary and Central Kootenay, and the City of Nelson—will be receiving and endorsing changes to the fare structure March 13.

The changes will be implemented likely in July, not April 1 as was reported in an earlier story in the Trail Times.