The wheels on the Shuswap Transit bus service have been rolling along for two decades, covering more miles and carrying more people each year – a fact that was celebrated Friday.
Steve Harvard, BC Transit’s senior regional manager, and Coun. Chad Eliason spoke at the Mall at Piccadilly about the transit service’s expansion over the past 20 years.
Harvard spoke to “incredible growth,” noting that in 1991, the first year of service in Salmon Arm, 3,000 passengers rode the two buses in operation. Now, more than 117,000 passengers in communities throughout the Shuswap ride an expanded fleet of eight buses. At the same time, the number of routes has increased from three to eight.
One thing that hasn’t changed at nearly the same rate is the fares.
In 20 years, adult fares have gone up a quarter from $1.25 to $1.50, and adult handyDart fares have risen the same amount, from $1.50 to $1.75.
Eliason said transit is helping the community grow sustainably and noted that the city is investing in a few transit shelters every year, creating a better experience for riders. He also pointed out that Salmon Arm is the only place in B.C. that offers free transit for children. He also noted the free bus service in the summer for youth heading to Canoe Beach.
Both men spoke highly of the transit drivers.
“The drivers in Salmon Arm are just phenomenal,” said Harvard. “When you have great drivers, people want to get on your bus.”