Port Alberni and Squamish are the only communities in the province with transit systems that went collision free in 2012, Pacific Western Transportation Port Alberni manager Phil Atkinson said.
Atkinson made the announcement at a special gathering of local transit and municipal officials in Port Alberni to mark the occasion last weekend.
“We’ve gone one year without a collision of any kind in the Alberni Valley. This is definitely a milestone because it’s not an easy thing to attain,” Atkinson said.
Pacific Western Transportation administers transit contracts in seven B.C. communities including Port Alberni.
The Alberni system operates four routes using three buses plus it operates HandyDART.
Transit officials divide collisions into two different categories, Atkinson said: preventable and non-preventable.
Preventable accidents occur when a bus driver could have taken preventable action to avoid a collision but didn’t.
Non-preventable accidents are things like when a bus is rear-ended by a car and there was nothing the bus driver could do to avoid it, Atkinson said.
Port Alberni transit dealt with three collisions in 2011, Atkinson said. However, he would not speculate how much money the company saved with no collisions in 2012.
In October, Atkinson noticed that the company was closing in on the achievement and waited with cautious optimism.
“I didn’t want to brag too early and wind up jinxing the whole thing,” he said. “I was relieved when we reached it because it’s a super goal to attain.”
B.C. Transit might own the buses but it’s the drivers that make them run, and that’s where the credit for the milestone should go, Atkinson said.
Alberni’s 13 transit drivers undergo a rigorous training regime when they’re hired, Atkinson said.
Training opportunities are ongoing throughout the year, he added.