Trash on the bus is moving in the right direction

Whistler locals might have plenty of problems — from housing woes to congested weekend roads — but now figuring out how to haul their trash to the transfer station isn’t one of them.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) recently announced that after a lengthy process with BC transit, riders can now carry garbage, recycling or compost with them on the bus — as long as it’s in a sturdy container and not a bag.

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For newcomers to town who may not know — Whistler doesn’t have curbside pick up the way most other towns and cities do. Instead, locals have to haul trash and recycling to either the transfer station in the Nesters neighbourhood or to the Function Junction station.

While it’s not a fun task for anyone, it has been particularly challenging for those who don’t own or have access to a vehicle. In fact, it created problems for wildlife — with improperly stored waste and recycling — that the Get Bear Smart Society attempted to address when they created their 4theloveofBears program, to connect drivers with carless folks so everyone could get to the transfer station without issue.

There are also a handful of companies that will come and pick up your waste, but in cash-strapped Whistler, that’s only appealing to a certain demographic.

The problem was further highlighted as the RMOW’s Transportation Advisory Group (TAG) devised plans to get more people off the road and onto transit. Of course, the secret to getting more people to ride the bus is to make it a better option than driving a vehicle — whether that’s with price or convenience. And it’s much more convenient to dump your trash on the way to work rather than making two separate trips (and that kind of goes against the goal of having fewer cars on the highway).

It turns out BC Transit had hang ups about letting people and their smelly bags on buses. It’s a fair concern, considering any accidental spills would mean taking the bus out of commission entirely for a clean up.

But, at long last, a compromise has been struck. You can now bring all your gross, smelly waste and recycling on the bus — just make sure it’s not in a bag, but rather a reliable, non-leaky container. Fair enough.

Now, as acting Mayor Jack Crompton said — or at least implied — don’t mess this up Whistler. This new initiative will be beneficial for many, but it has the potential to be ruined by a few who can’t follow the rules.

Let’s keep progress on track and buses free of mess.

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