North and South Delta Seniors’ Buses
The North and South Delta Seniors’ Buses provide transportation for Delta seniors to travel to and from requested locations. It was introduced by the municipality to address a gap in transportation services for seniors. The service is free, although donations are accepted.Any senior living in Delta may register for the bus service at their local Recreation Centre –in North Delta at the Kennedy Seniors Recreation Centre and in South Delta at the McKee Seniors Recreation Centre.To reserve a space on the bus, seniors have to call in advance (generally there is an assigned day each week when people need to call to reserve a spot for the following week) and the bus routes depend on the requests for the day.
The North Delta Seniors Bus (18 seats) operates 5 days a week and the South Delta Seniors Bus (16 seats) operates 3 days a week. Both buses are wheelchair accessible. The North and South Delta Buses each serve their own communities independently and do not provide service to each other’s region. Through a UBCM Age-Friendly Community Grant and support from the municipality, the North Delta Seniors’ Bus was launched in 2013, with an annual operating budget of approximately $90,000. Since then, another Age-Friendly Community Grant for $20,000 helped to launch the South Delta Seniors Bus (which serves Tsawwassen and Ladner).
Need and History -Delta is a suburb of Vancouver with limited public transit services (which are operated by Translink, the regional transportation entity), creating serious challenges for seniors who are in need of transportation. To illustrate the reality facing many older people in the area, the Delta South Youth Advisory Council conducted an experiment to find out what it would be like for a senior to travel by bus to a medical appointment. They took the bus from Tsawwassen to Surrey Memorial Hospital with a Delta senior and found out that what would normally be a 20-minute drive by car, took 2 hours and 15 minutes by bus.
The catalyst for introduction of the North Delta Seniors’ Bus was when the Kennedy Seniors Recreation Centre was unable to get Translink to change a bus route around Nordel Way to make it easier for seniors to access the Centre. The Delta Seniors Planning Table brought the issue of transportation forward to the municipality who agreed to work with them on a solution.
Impact and Challenges -The service has been very well received and is in high demand by seniors. A limitation of the service is that each bus travels only within in its own region, with the exception of the North Delta Bus, which, upon request, will travel to Surrey Memorial Hospital for some treatments.There is also no service to the Tsawwassen First Nation (TFN) community or the Tsawwassen Mills mall (which is within the TFN boundaries) as the TFN is regarded as a separate municipality.