A local resident is collecting signatures for a petition to keep regular-sized buses running along two routes in North Burnaby.
Burnaby resident Tina Poole is peeved that TransLink switched to smaller buses on the 134 and 136 routes, which she often relies on to get around the city.
The Forest Grove resident says the smaller vehicles are often overcrowded and leave people behind at bus stops because they are full. The smaller buses are also less accessible for wheelchairs and baby strollers, she claims.
"I'm more advocating on behalf of my neighbours," she said. "I've got a lot of neighbours with mobility issues."
Poole said the changes were made in early September.
"They say it's going to be permanent, but not if I can help it," she said.
TransLink spokesperson Drew Snider confirmed the buses on routes 134 and 135 were downsized in September, but the smaller buses are only being used on weekends, he pointed out.
TransLink made the changes as part of a "service optimization initiative," which included a study of bus routes to figure out where best to use the buses.
"With 134 and 136, on weekends the ridership just didn't justify having a 40foot bus," Snider said. In the fall of 2011, ridership for the routes peaked at 17 boardings, a third of the large buses' capacity, he added.
"We put the bigger buses elsewhere and replaced them with the community shuttle buses."
The community shuttle buses have space for 24 seats and the same number of wheelchairs or strollers as the regularsized buses.
According to Snider, only one person has formally complained to TransLink about the downsized buses, and the transit company keeps an eye on public feedback.
"We always monitor the situation to see if any changes are warranted. Looking into the numbers and taking into account we can carry just as many strollers and wheelchairs, . for now, it just doesn't make economic sense to run a big bus for 17 people per trip," he said.
"We do log all the complaints we get about these things, and they are taken into consideration."
The 134 goes to Lake City Way and Brentwood Station, while the 136 goes to Lougheed Station and Brentwood Station.