A member of the city’s youth council would like to see the wheels on the bus roll in a different direction for Shuswap Transit’s Route 3 from Canoe.
City council was impressed with the idea and said it may present it to BC Transit once the city has received word on its three current requests for late evening services and Sunday service.
Ashley Jensen gave her detailed presentation to council on March 9, prior to COVID-19 restrictions, suggesting that the Canoe bus route, instead of travelling on the Trans-Canada Highway, could reroute in Canoe to Canoe Beach Drive, then up Parkhill, west on 60th Avenue NE and onto Lakeshore.
She said one or two bus stops could be placed along Lakeshore possibly near Raven and, if the demand exists, on 20th Avenue. From there, it would head right on 30th Street NE with one stop and continue to downtown.
Her purpose, she explained, is to increase bus ridership and decrease climate change by having more people use public transportation. She said the route change would give high school kids the opportunity to get to a job after school downtown or to get home.
Jensen also pointed out transit statistics which show ridership on the existing route is down from 2016.
Coun. Chad Eliason said he liked the idea and wondered if bus service for Raven has been considered.
Rob Niewenhuizen, director of public works and engineering, responded.
“I’ve been here for 13 years and always questioned why there is no bus service to Raven. But it’s never come on the radar. Council’s never offered it, it is about funding and it’s about shared costs with the province and B.C. Transit.
“The existing routes have been reduced over the years because of costs again, so I think by expanding the route as proposed it would obviously add time to the routing and that would cost money. So it would be purely a decision of BC Transit to look at the ridership in those areas, as well as modeling it out and costing it out.”
Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond said she takes the bus almost every day from Canoe.
“Routes are planned often times based on where more modest homes are established. So whether we know it or not when we’re driving on the highway… there are dozens of homes along the highway…,” she said.
She expressed appreciation for Jensen’s idea and said she could see other possible options to reach Lakeshore such as 40th.
Eliason urged council to put the request on the city’s list to transit.
Niewenhuizen said council will get transit’s report on the city’s three requests so can decide then – but it will be a slow process.
“I did hear the provincial budget has money for transit so that might help our situation for the initial three requests. Typically those requests go in in summer and it takes six or eight months in order to do the planning.”