Regional transit upgrades eyed

Evolution may be pleasing to potential users including those in Castlegar area

Castlegar Mayor Lawrence Chernoff gave a transit-related report to council during the meeting of May 20.

His Worship, who also serves as the West Kootenay Regional Transit Committee Chair, described some of what may be expected in the way of transit improvements due to kick in by January 2015.

First clarifying that any changes will be the result of careful study of ridership, demand and other considerations, the mayor described the system as one in a state of evolution.

“We’re looking at Saturday service, Grandview needs service. We need to improve the efficiency of the whole thing,” he said at the meeting’s conclusion. High on the committee’s list is an improvement in the connections available to riders to and from the South Slocan area.

“It’s looking at the Playmor Junction, how we mesh all of the buses together. It’s a matter of putting this thing together as efficiently as possible, providing the most service,” said Chernoff.

“We’ve done a lot of improvements in the routes. We’ve put monthly passes in, so it’s just a matter of building on that and seeing which direction we can take it,” he said.

Service to the Grandview Heights area is also something on the committee’s radar, as Chernoff touched upon.

“We’ll see how we can provide service. There’s that opportunity. We’ve had a lot of requests coming from people. They’re asking whether a bus can come up there. We need to build the ridership, to see if it’s cost effective, or not. If you’re only going to do it once a week it doesn’t make sense.”

It’s apparent that Grandview Heights residents could benefit from a bus service, as the committee chair conceded.

“Yes, instead of driving their cars, especially in the winter,” he stated. “I think there’s a good opportunity there. But we’ve had other places where we’ve looked at service and there’s no ridership. So, you’ve got to look at the cost… whether it’s affordable or not.”