District of Invermere mayor and RDEK vice-chair Gerry Taft said he hopes the new routes make the Columbia Valley Transit system easier to use.

Columbia Valley Transit looking to increase ridership

BC Transit delivered its annual performance summary for 2011-2012 at a Regional District of East Kootenay meeting.

BC Transit delivered its annual performance summary for 2011-2012 at a Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) Columbia Valley Directors Committee meeting on Thursday (September 6) and the report shows ridership numbers have dropped significantly as compared to the previous year.

Columbia Valley Transit system revenue decreased by one per cent while ridership fell by 17 per cent, from 9,929 passengers in 2010-2011 to 8,270 in 2011-2012. While operating costs per hour increased by three per cent as compared to last year, total costs were nine per cent below budgeted costs, with savings coming from fleet maintenance and lease fees. Rides per hour also decreased by 18 per cent.

After agreeing to reroute Route 1 from Kootenay No. 3 Rd. to Highway 93/95 due to minimal ridership, poor road conditions, and the added time needed for the detour, the board also decided to replace the on-request service with conventional service due to minimal ridership in order to increase conventional trip frequency. This will enable an extra three hours of conventional service between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

These developments are based on recommendations for uses of the reallocated service hours as identified at a transit workshop on July 25, which also included recommendations not implemented including service between Fairmont Hot Springs Resort and Radium; connections in Invermere with the Mountain and Valley Shuttle service allowing for group trips at lunchtime between seniors’ homes and local restaurants; service between Radium and the Radium mineral pools; and service to the Village of Canal Flats.

Due to the limited number of reallocated hours, it was impossible to accommodate all options.

Also at the transit workshop, there was one extra hour of service identified that may be saved from the current schedule to allow for increased service that would allow an Edgewater to Canal Flats connecting service.

In the end, the board decided to approve additional service between Edgewater and Canal Flats as well as along Columbia Lake Road between Columbia Ridge and Coy’s Par 3 Golf Course.

This recommendation will now be forwarded to BC Transit who will look at it in further detail and provide a

proposal.

BC Transit provided the board additional information on the feasibility of each of the options that came out of workshop, and also suggested that the RDEK consult with the Akisqnuk First Nation regarding the service removal from Kootenay No. 3 Rd.