Sunday, January 15, 2006

Three will be along in a minute

I've been listening to a lot more CBC than normal lately. It's the only radio station I can get at work via streaming audio on the computer. The alternative is to bring in a radio and listen to Iqaluit's Raven Rock. However, while their play list is...charmingly...erratic, I can't listen to commerical radio stations for eight hours or more a day. I'll go mad.

That means CBC. And since a lot of of CBC North is in Inuktuit (which I can't understand, but I'm taking my first class later this week), that means tuning in CBC Newfoundland.

(And to answer the question why don't I get other streaming stations via my computer, they are blocked.)

"On The Go" has been posing the interesting question of why doesn't St. John's have a bus station. It's one of those things that I had never dwelled on before, but it's a good question. We used to have one - the old CN Train Station on Water Street. But once the CN buses stopped running, along with the trains, the building fell into disuse. It is now, of course, The Railway-Coastal Museum.

So if a visitor to the city came up to you and asked where he or she could go about catching a bus to Gander, what would you tell them? Where would you tell them they could catch a bus? Unless you're a regular user of DRL, you probably wouldn't know that you had to go to the Irving in Donovan's to get the bus. Apparently most tourism information on websites or brochures mention little if anything about how to get around the province via bus.

It was also pointed out that we surely must be one of the few capital cities in all of North America that doesn't have a bus depot. And that's just weird.

I'm not saying it's worth having a bus depot just for DRL. I've had my share of bad experiences with DRL. So has Liam. If you've ridden the TCH with DRL at all, I'm willing to bet you've had one as well. Whether or not it just has to do with the joys of bus travel or DRL's increasingly poor reputation, I leave it for you to judge.

I have the feeling that one day I'm going to read in The Telegram or with CBC that DRL just closed operations and the owners will have done a Lorraine Lush. And when they do surface, they will blame the media, the government and any number of other things other than the fact that they seem to run a bit of a half-assed bus service.

Anyway, if you had a depot where DRL could launch from, along with Metrobus and the shuttle buses (okay, most of them are mini-vans) that run out to the Bonavista and Burin Peninsulas, throw in a tourism kiosk and then you might have something. That way you're not dependent on one operator. That way it's not vacant most of the time. Have it paid for by the province and St. John's and throw in some nominal rents to the companies that use it and I think it could work.

St. John's has a bus depot. Tourism operators around the province are a bit happier and it shouldn't cost a fortune. I'm not sure where to put it; Downtown seems obvious, but perhaps somewhere in the centre of town could work as well. It's worth thinking about, at any rate.

Currently playing on iTunes
Tripping Up The Stairs - Spirit Of The West


Heather Patey said...

It would be nice, I agree, to have one place to get all info about getting out of town via bus - there are smaller van-taxis, but it takes a bunch of phone calls to find out about what goes where. DRL perceived as the only option is very worrisome. DRL does, however, have their own full schedule online - they leave from the Irving on Stavangar Drive, the MUN Student Centre (both served by Metrobus), and the Crossroads Motel.

towniebastard said...

I knew about the DRL schedules and stuff, but I've rode the odd DRL bus in my lifetime and know such things. It is asking a bit much for visitors to the city to be able to find the site and the schedule.

And the mini-vans, while a good deal, are a pain in the ass. The whole being able to track them down is difficult enough and then, depending on where you get on, you can be riding around in the mini-van for an hour or two before ever heading onto the TCH.

I used to get on in Virigina Park, which normally meant getting the scenic tour of St. John's first. So yeah, give me a central bus depot.

NL-ExPatriate said...

The Prov Gov is redoing it's tourist info maybe now would be a good time to send them a note. Apparently they have hired an outside agency to redo our tourism data.

Hopefully they will put all of our Province on the same side of the map instead of NFLD on one side and LAb on the other like a colony.

I've been thinking lately about a rural bussing system for NL.
In actuallity it already exists the school buses.
Now I know your going to say insurance timings etc etc.
But the fact still remains the system is already there and may only need to be tweaked and worked with inorder to make it work as a limited public transit system for rural NL.