Local residents speculate community bus is a problem in Mission

Over the last couple of years, the Mission community bus, funded by BC Transit, has concerned many parents of students around the Hatzic Middle School area.

The community bus drops off students at 8:30 a.m. and picks them up around 3:45 p.m. after school. It transports the students and local residents from Hatzic to downtown Mission and also to Mission Secondary School (MSS). The bus runs seven days per week.

“The bus is providing students with a way to skip,” said local resident Ron Ballard.

Before the 2015/16 school year began, the Mission School District changed Hatzic Secondary School to a middle school. Ballard also said, “There has been a decrease in the number of students skipping since they turned it into a middle school. Before, there were at least two to three kids who would hop on the bus to skip every morning.”

As a student of former Hatzic Secondary School, I saw many students skipping every day. They were either going back home while their parents were at work, or going to hang out with their friends in downtown Mission. Since the bus runs through Mission Secondary, it makes it easier for students to hang out with more friends who may attend MSS.

According to Shirley Gibson, principal of Hatzic Middle School, at least five students take this bus to school every day. Gibson said, “They need this bus to get to school because the school busses don’t run by their residence.”

The bus has been running in front of the school as long as Hatzic Middle School vice principal Joseph Heslip can remember. When asked about the stops along the bus’ routes, Heslip asked, “Why would the students walk when they can get dropped directly in front of the school?” Heslip said. “I have not seen any kids, this year, take the bus off of school property.”

Residents in Hatzic rely on the community bus to get to work during the week. The bus should be relocated in a different area of Hatzic that is harder for students to access.

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