City commits to increased transit service in Salmon Arm

If province agrees, improvements to include later hours and Sunday service, starting in 2020 or 2021

City council has “put its money where its mouth is” when it comes to expanding bus service in Salmon Arm.

In a unanimous vote Monday, council agreed to allow city staff to sign a memorandum of understanding with BC Transit that identifies increases to transit service starting either in 2020 or 2021.

The service expansions include three of five recommendations from a 2017 Shuswap Regional Transit Service Performance Check-in by BC Transit, which was based on ridership and public feedback, as well as previous discussions with council and staff.

The three service expansions council committed to May 27, based on cost-sharing with the province, include:

• Sunday service on routes 1 (West Loop) and 2 (College/Hillcrest). The estimated cost is $56,929, with the city’s portion being $22,072.

• Later evening Friday and Saturday service to 10 p.m. on two routes to start in order to gauge popularity. Estimated cost is $22,772, with the city paying $8,769.

• Later evening service weekdays to 8 p.m. The estimated cost is $56,929, with a municipal share of $22,072.

Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works, said the earliest the improvements would be implemented would be September 2020. But he recommended they start in 2021

Council discussed at length the recommendation to extend service to the industrial park, but the majority thought it was too soon and too expensive to proceed at this time.

Coun. Sylvia Lindgren described herself as a huge proponent of increased transit service, noting she knows people who are considering moving to Vernon where they can access better bus service. She said she’d like to see the industrial park service proceed.

Coun. Debbie Cannon said she too is impatient for service expansions, but spoke to some businesses in the industrial park which favour waiting because it will be difficult to accommodate the different shifts people work.

Read more: Salmon Arm council to consider putting money aside for transit

Read more: BC Transit ordered to pay blind woman $11K after driver fails to call out stops

Read more: Lack of public transit limiting access to medical care

Coun. Kevin Flynn noted the presence of Marianne VanBuskirk, chair of the board of education, and pointed out the city has wanted for years to find a way to use school buses whose use drops off considerably in the evenings.

Mayor Alan Harrison summed up the comments by noting the transit system in Salmon Arm costs about $1.1 million per year, of which the city pays about $600,000. He said he’s willing to commit to the three service expansions as council hasn’t made an investment for some time.

Council’s approval of the three service-expansion proposals means BC Transit can further investigate the plan and pursue provincial funding. The plan extends over three fiscal years from 2020-21 to 2022-23.


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Salmon Arm Silverbacks and Merritt Centennials split thrilling double-header

One game ended in overtime, the other in a high-scoring final period. Both were a treat for fans.

In Photos: Salmon Arm residents pay tribute

Residents gather at cenotaph for Remembrance Day ceremony

Sockeye salmon return to Okanagan Lake for first time in decades

Restoration of fish ladder damaged more than 50 years ago enables return

Shuswap family makes tradition of tending to grave of fallen soldier

Grandchildren learn importance of Remembrance Day while paying their respect

Community meeting will discuss crime in South Shuswap communities

The meeting will be held on Nov. 27 in Blind Bay.

VIDEO: Hong Kong police shoot protester, man set on fire

It was the second protester shot since the demonstrations began in early June

In Photos: Sicamous remembers

A crowd numbering in the hundreds gathered at Sicamous cenotaph on Nov. 11.

Sportsnet fires Don Cherry after negative comments about immigrants

Don Cherry had said immigrants don’t wear poppies like other Canadians do

Trudeau’s new cabinet: Gender parity because it’s 2019? Or due to competence?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will soon appoint his new cabinet

Canada among three G20 countries least likely to hit emissions targets

It says Canada, South Korea and Australia are the farthest off

Conservatives’ Scheer wants Trudeau to open Parliament Nov. 25

That’s five days after Justin Trudeau is scheduled to swear in a new cabinet

Coquihalla, Okanagan Connector drivers cautioned due to freezing rain

Special weather statement in effect for highways between Hope, Merritt, Kamloops and Kelowna

Summerland council considers change to meeting schedule

Proposal calls for afternoon session and 6 p.m. evening session for regular meetings

Last remaining Centurion tank from the Korean War makes its journey ‘home’ to B.C.

Tank arrives in B.C. the day before Remembrance Day after a more than 4,500-kilometre transfer

Most Read