The Regional District of East Kootenay and BC Transit fund transit service in both the Columbia and Elk Valley. The Columbia Valley Transit system is operated by Olympus Stage Lines Ltd.
This service is open to anyone and provides scheduled transportation for residents who may not otherwise be able to travel to access social, business, professional and government services.
One of the challenges with the transit service is having enough ridership to make it sustainable. In the Columbia Valley, one of the goals is to acquire a second bus to enable more trips per day; however, this will depend on a substantial increase in demand.
The Columbia Valley has two transit routes: Route 1 – Canal Flats/Invermere and Route 2 – Invermere/Radium/Edgewater. Detailed route information is available on BC Transit’s website at www.bctransit.com, including the Columbia Valley Transit Rider’s Guide, which has all the information you need to know about the transit system. Fares are $2 or $2.50 depending on where you’re going, and children four and under ride for free.
There are specific bus stops along each route; however, in the rural areas where there are no designated bus stops, the bus can be flagged down anywhere along the route where it’s safe for the bus to pull over. Detailed information on flagging down the bus is included in the Rider’s Guide.
In addition to the Columbia Valley Transit Service, there is also a Health Connections Transit Service which connects Columbia Valley residents with non-emergency medical appointments in Cranbrook on Mondays and Fridays. Although medical appointments are given priority, everyone is eligible to use this service if space is available. The Health Connections route is run in partnership with the Kootenay East Regional Hospital District, RDEK and BC Transit. Trips must be booked 24 hours in advance.
For more information on the Columbia Valley Transit Service or Health Connections, call 1-877-343-2461.
I encourage all Columbia Valley residents to get on board and give our transit service a try. I have used and enjoyed the service, and even made the trip with my bike on board. The more we use it, the better transit will be. The price is right, the ride is smooth, the drivers are friendly, and the scenery is spectacular.
Gerry Wilkie is the Regional District of East Kootenay director for Area G, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.