For the first time in seven years,VITRAN has added a new run to its service which is aimed at accommodating the burgeoning Gift Hill community.
The new run, VITRAN Route 107, which runs on federal highway Route 104, originates at Bellevue Village on Gift Hill and traverses the steep switchbacks connecting to South Shore Road.
The route passes the Westin Resort, goes over Jacobs Ladder and continues to the Loredon L. Boynes Sr. ferry dock in Cruz Bay.
From the dock, the bus line runs back up Jacobs Ladder to the Westin, then up to Bellevue Village and on to the Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center (MKSCHC). The VITRAN bus turns around at MKSCHC and repeats the run back to Bellevue Village and eventually the ferry dock in Cruz Bay.
There are currently 42 families at the Bellevue Village affordable housing community, and there will be 72 families when construction is completewhich is expected to be in May.
The residents in the area are delighted with the new bus service, according to Carole DeSenne, Bellevue property manager. People are saying that they hope the line stays, said DeSenne. At least seven of our residents right now dont own cars and this is a helpful way for them to get to town. It is a big benefit and people are delighted.
The first run of the day kicks off at 6:15 a.m. at Bellevue Village and leaves from the dock at 7:25 a.m.
The new run leaves the Cruz Bay dock around 25 minutes after the hour for the rest of the day, but the bus will wait for the passenger ferry if it is behind schedule, according to Donna Roberts, VITRAN operations manager.
The last run of the day for Route 107 leaves the Cruz Bay dock at 6:25 p.m. All runs are $1 each way.
The new line was launched in January and has been a popular route, according to Roberts.
People who live in the Bellevue area and work at the Westin have been really appreciating this line, she said.
VITRAN is using smaller vehicles, called Cutaway Buses, which resemble small school buses, to be able to traverse the steep switchbacks from Gift Hill Road to South Shore Road, explained Roberts.
The Coral Bay run, which utilizes the new larger VITRAN buses, still runs daily at 20 minutes after the hour from the Cruz Bay ferry dock to Salt Pond Bay.
The Westin and Gift Hill route was a part of VITRANs normal schedule until 1999, when it was halted. We used to do this route, said Roberts. It was in place until 1999, when we had a lot of cutbacks. We now have operational funds to be able to offer the service again.