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Castlegar rides the "Russ Bus" on New Year's Eve

Castlegar Source
By Castlegar Source
December 29th, 2009

For the second year in a row now, the B.C. Transit Service will be providing a New Year’s vehicle to help discourage drinking and driving as Castlegar rings in 2010.

Dubbed the “Russ Bus” by the press last year in honour of the city councillor who lobbied to have the service instituted, the New Year’s Eve bus will run from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m. along Castlegar’s major routes.

“I just felt, since we don’t have a lot of taxis, it made sense,” said councillor and point man Russ Hearne. “If there’s one time of year we should remove the temptation we know will be there … We want to support our residents in making healthy, safe choices.

“If it keeps even just one drunk driver off the road, it was worth it.”

Castlegar RCMP Sgt. Laurel Mathew said she fully supports the idea.

“I think it’s great,” she said. “The more people who have safe rides home, the better … it beats the heck out of a one-way ride in the back of a police cruiser.”

Mathew also reminded the public that the cell-phones-while driving ban will come into effect in the New Year.

“No cell phones, no texting while driving … only hands-free,” she said, adding the fine will be steep for those who get ticketed – $167 – and that’s if you haven’t caused an accident as a result of violating the ban.

She also reminded motorists that, regardless the calendar dates, winter driving conditions are in effect, and extra care and caution are warranted – this after eight weather-related car accidents in the space of only five days. No one was seriously injured in any of the crashes.

For specific information on the Russ Bus routes and schedule, visit http://www.bctransit.com/regions/cas/customeralert.cfm?alertid=2051

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