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City council approves changes to transit system
Changes planned for public transit in Salmon Arm will benefit shoppers while reducing service to an existing route.
At their regular meeting Monday, councillors reviewed a staff report for expanding the Shuswap Regional Transit System within the municipality. Staff’s report revolves around a revised transit service review by BC Transit, prompted in part by interest in expanding service to Farmcrest Foods and the SmartCentres site west of town, as well as the Uptown Askew’s.
From the completed review, staff recommended that council approve what was referred to as Option 1, which would have left existing routes relatively unchanged while adding additional trip time on three routes. However, the $115,000 annual cost associated with this option, which would have required a 0.8 per cent tax increase, did not sit well with council.
“I don’t like to approve budget requests outside of the budget process, because then you get to the budget process you’re already behind one or two per cent on top of everything else that you can’t change,” commented Coun. Alan Harrison. Only Coun. Debbie Cannon championed the recommended option, based on her work with the city’s social issues committee. The rest of council was on-side with Harrison, who favoured Option 4, a less expensive option that would result in a reduction of service along the Foothill Road loop, but could add a “shoppers shuttle” that would add 11 trips on weekdays and 10 on Saturdays. Harrison said this option would cost the city about $6,700. Coun. Ken Jamieson agreed this option represented better bang for the buck.
“There seems to be a focus on getting people to the places where they shop, and while that is an important consideration for our transit system, I don’t think it needs to be the driving force…,” said Jamieson. “I think with Option 4, we will get the shuttle that will make sure people get to the main shopping areas in town for dramatically less money.”
Corporate service director and acting administrator Monica Dalziel noted that for Option 4, the city would need buy-in from the Adams Lake Indian Band.
“That’s who would be paying for that piece so we’d have to have their approval, if they’d want to pay that extra $1,700,” said Dalziel.
The changes are expected to go into effect on Dec. 2, and Cannon said she wanted a report from BC Transit after six months to see what is and isn’t working and what kind of ridership numbers the city is getting.