A New Westminster mom is hoping to drum up enough interest to start a private bus service for students living on the west side of the city.
Serena Trachta, co-chair of the École Qayqayt Elementary School parent advisory council (PAC), wants to organize a bus for kids who attend Qayqayt and École Glenbrook Middle School and live west of Sixth Street.
Last year, the PAC at Fraser River Middle School hired a bus to pick up kids from the West End and bring them to the school on Eighth Street. The service was partially subsidized by a grant from the City of New Westminster, but this year, no grant was offered, so organizers decided to cancel the service as there were not enough registrants to make it cost effective.
“Now we have quite a few kids from the west side who are not conveniently able to get to Fraser River, and I’m getting more emails from parents that live west of Sixth or so, at the Quay or the west side that are trying to get to Qayqayt or Glenbrook for French immersion,” Trachta said.
Her goal is to try and round up everyone who is interested in a bus service before Labour Day. The service would drop kids off at Fraser River middle, Qayqayt elementary and Glenbrook middle. She needs between 50 and 54 students to keep costs to about $75 a month per student, Trachta added.
Because of the small geographical size of New Westminster, the school district doesn’t receive funding for buses to and from school but that doesn’t mean the issue hasn’t been discussed.
During the last school year, Trustee Mary Lalji asked district staff to look into the viability of a bus service from Queensborough to the high school. Questionnaires were sent to families in the ’Boro, but a low response rate put the project on hold. A second questionnaire will be sent to Queensborough families in the fall, but this time, it’ll be available in multiple languages to try and increase the number of completed surveys that are returned.
If they can’t get enough kids to make the Fraser-Qayqayt-Glenbrook cost effective, they might look into starting a walking or biking bus – that’s when a few parents lead a group of kids to and from the school, Trachta said.
“I’m just trying to reach out,” she said. “If anybody is interested in getting to Fraser River, Glenbrook and Qayqayt from the west side, contact me.”
Trachta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is asking anyone who is interested in the service to contact her before the long weekend.