B.C. Transit lists bus options for city

B.C. Transit optimistic about Cranbrook’s bus system, while council expresses frustration

Representatives from B.C. Transit presented recommendations for Cranbrook’s transit system in a special meeting on Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 11.

They looked at previous reviews done in 2001, 2004 and 2011. They compared Cranbrook’s performance with other peer systems and sought input from stakeholders, passengers and residents. They used that to develop some potential service options.

Alison McDonald, transportation planner for B.C. Transit, said the current system has many qualities that make it easy to understand. One of those is = that buses leave at easy to remember times such as 12, 12:15, 12:30 and 12:45.

She said time transfers are also a benefit. It’s when all buses leave at the same time enabling passengers to change to another bus at that time to complete their journey.

“Ridership on the system is strong and is continuing to increase,” she said. “The transit system performs very well when compared to similar size transit systems in western B.C.”

She said that ridership has dramatically increased since the system was introduced 13 years ago and is now 2.5 times what it was then.

McDonald said compared to other peer services in B.C., Cranbrook’s system costs are the lowest from the group they compared.

Costs recovery is higher than average, which she said was partly due to relatively high fares in Cranbrook.

Riders per hour, at an average of 20, is about the same as other systems compared.

“So overall it is performing very well,” she said.

One of the recommendations is two-way service into Slaterville.

“We propose another two trips per day, one in mid-morning and one in mid-afternoon to reduce that interval inbetween trips,” she said.

The change would add 260 additional service hours and a cost of $10,000 to the city and $9,600 to B.C. Transit. It would also add 800 riders.

The service would be achieved by adding Route 3 and Route 7 on Sundays to one route, and by reducing services frequency on Route 5 College.

“Currently it runs every 30 minutes, but due to low ridership, we propose scaling it back to 60-minute services, again that would be on Sunday,” she said.

That change would save an estimated 380 hours a year, but lose an average of 200 rides per year. The change would save the city $14,600 and B.C. Transit $12,900.

McDonald suggested those savings could pay for the extra service to Slaterville and also could be used in other various ways, such as increasing evening service on weekdays by 30 minutes, adding one hour on Fridays and Saturdays, adding two hours of service on Saturdays only, increasing service frequency during the day on Sundays, or beginning service earlier on weekdays.

She said their vehicle fleet composition and the addition of smaller buses could be looked at, but “during the morning and afternoon peaks, some of the routes are standing room only, with the influx of school students.”

Mayor Wayne Stetski brought up frustrations he’s seen and heard about lack of ridership.

“If I could wave a magic wand around transit in Cranbrook I would replace almost all, if not all, with handy-transit sized vehicles,” Stetski said, adding that he often sees the buses empty or sparsely populated.

McDonald noted that there are times when buses do run empty, but repeated that there are times when they are “standing room only.” She said it’s difficult to have one fleet for the peak period and one for the low hours.

The mayor also suggested signs on individual bus stops that show the schedule.

Coun. Gerry Warner went further with comments about ridership.

“For 13 years I’ve looked at the buses every single day — I monitor them,” he said. “The number of times that I’ve seen a bus with double digits, 10 or more people, in 13 years, I could number on one hand.”

Warner proposed developing a new system in partnership with B.C. Transit that could be used as a pilot project for other similar small urban communities in B.C.

Daniel Pizarro, senior regional transit manager, said B.C. Transit monitors ridership through electronic fare boxes on the buses, as well as counts. He also said that the cost of having smaller buses isn’t that big of a savings, since you still have to pay driver wages, maintenance and fuel costs.

Tania Wegwitz, who is manager of operational planning for B.C. Transit, said the models used in B.C. differ greatly from the rest of the country and B.C. Transit carries more riders at a lower charge than many other bus services.

“We use all different kinds of models to deliver transit, we use taxi companies, we partner with Greyhound where it makes sense,” Wegwitz said.

She said that Cranbrook’s service is on an upward trend.

She also noted for every dollar cut from transit, the municipality only actually saves 33 cents, since B.C. Transit pays 47 cents of every dollar and passengers pay for 20 cents of every dollar. So that part of the funding disappears as it is cut.

“However if you increase ridership, every dollar in additional revenue, the city keeps,” she said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Interior Health nurse administers Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
105 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

Just over 8,000 new vaccine doses administered in the region for a total of 158,000 to date

Advocates marched to city hall for overdose awareness on Wednesday, April 14, to mark five years since the province declared a public health emergency. Trevor Crawley photo.
Advocates march for overdose awareness as province marks five years of public health emergency

Advocates demanding action on the overdose crisis marched on city hall in… Continue reading

A photograph of bear scat shot in town in Kimberley on April 14 that shows bears are up and around once more. Kim Tuff photo.
WildSafeBC back for the season as bears begin to emerge from hibernation

WildSafeBC Kimberley-Cranbrook has resumed their operations, working to prevent conflict with wildlife… Continue reading

Pictured is the new Cranbrook Food Bank on Industrial Rd. 2. This building will also soon be home to the Cranbrook Food Recovery program and Farm Kitchen. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
Cranbrook Food Recovery, Farm Kitchen join Food Bank in new location

The organizations are partnering together to increase food security in the community

Western Financial Place is set to re-open on November 2, 2020. (Cranbrook Townsman file)
Concourse at Western Financial Place to close for season April 16

The City encourages walking on the outdoor track at COTR

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversary of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

Commercial trucks head south towards the Pacific Highway border crossing Wednesday (April 14, 2021). The union representing Canadian border officers wants its members to be included on the frontline priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Aaron Hinks photo)
CBSA officers’ union calls for vaccine priority in B.C.

Border officers at ports including, YVR and land crossings should ‘not be left behind’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read