City eyes transit review for expansion possibilities

The City of Cranbrook is hoping to work with BC Transit to conduct a full-scale review of local transit services with an eye towards expanding to underserved areas such as Slaterville or outlying areas such as Gold Creek.

The issue came up as council discussed the renewal of the Cranbrook Transit Annual Operating Agreement with B.C. Transit. The crown corporation had also suggested undertaking a fare and tariff review, the last of which was done eight years ago.

However, Councillor Wes Graham suggested that the city should expand the scale and do a full-scale review of transit to see if any underserved areas can be identified before tweaking any fare rates.

“First off, when I look at the idea of a fare review, and I understand that we haven’t looked at a fare review since 2011, I truly think we need to do a full transit review. I think we’re missing the mark and looking at potentially upping the rate isn’t going to improve our ridership,” said Graham.

“…To me, I think we need to maybe back off looking at this [fare review] and request a full scale transit review and bring in our Area C director [Rob Gay] in ways we can work together to maybe help offset some of the transit costs and get some good ridership.

“I don’t think we’re taxed to a point where the system is overloaded with people or riders; I think we might have some peak moments, but overall I think we could drive ridership up as well as have a system that could champion us to the future.”

Most of the councillors agreed with the prudence of a full-scale review, with Coun. Ron Popoff suggesting the Aqam community and the St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino as potential areas for transit expansion.

According to a report delivered to council last summer by B.C. Transit, there are five conventional buses in service for eight routes and three buses for subscription HandiDART services.

Mayor Pratt and council noted that the HandiDART services are overtaxed and debated the merits of addling additional HandiDART buses versus distributing an existing taxi-service coupon subsidized by the city and the province.

However, concerns over wheelchair accessibility for the taxi service were noted by a few council members, while city staff said an additional HandiDART bus is already on the way, if not already in service.

Transit services in Cranbrook is operated by a third-party that is overseen by B.C. Transit, with operating costs shared between the city and the crown corporation.

Cranbrook pays 53 per cent of the conventional service costs and 33 per cent of the custom service costs. For 2019, Cranbrook’s estimated subsidy of the conventional services, adjusting for projected revenue, is $590,000. The expected subsidy of the custom services, again accounting for projected revenue, is $121,000.

Council approved the Transit Annual Operating Agreement, but deferred the fare and tariff review back to city staff in order to coordinate a full-scale regional review of transit services with B.C. Transit.



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Confirmed COVID-19 case at J.A. Laird School in Invermere

The S.D.6 Superintendent has notified families

Broken water main reduces traffic flow on 24th Avenue North in Cranbrook

Traffic will be reduced to single-lane, closed off completely until repairs are done

The plane crash at the top of the mountain

50 years ago, a small plane was lost within sight of the Cranbrook airport. What went wrong?

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

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

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Most Read