At their meeting on Monday, Sept. 26, Kimberley City Council unanimously voted in favour of expanding some of the City’s transit routes: Route 22, the Kimberley-Cranbrook Commuter, Route 23, the winter shuttle and the Route 24 local on-demand transit service.
This comes following the previous meeting of Council, when Council chose to defer the decision until more information was collected.
“I just want to note that what we had changed our mind about was the fact that we wanted to do whatever we could to expand the system, that there were two or three options there and we wanted to try and do all three and that one of those was actually missing from the first amendment,” Councillor Sandra Roberts noted.
“So we feel as though we need to strive for the best possible opportunities in working with the province in terms of supporting the Transit system for us.”
Now that Council has approved the expansion of these routes, this expansion initiative will be included in BC Transit’s funding request to the province. Following confirmation from the provincial budget in around February, 2024, BC Transit will begin an implementation process.
As this expansion will involve adding more buses to Kimberley’s fleet, the timeline to implementation can be fairly lengthy and will likely not happen until early 2024.
The first expansion option was adding one additional light-duty fleet vehicle and growing the Route 23 winter shuttle and Route 24 local on-demand transit services by up to 555 hours, at an estimated net municipal cost share of $32,864.
Option B was the expansion of the Route 22 Kimberley-Cranbrook Commuter of up to 850 service hours and adding two light-duty fleet vehicles to provide two additional daily trips, one in the morning and one in the evening. The cost to the city for this is estimated at $52,239.
Council voted to approve both expansion options at a municipal cost share of around $85,000.
“As noted at the previous meeting, this does not commit us to spending this $85,000, it’s a simple approval process that goes to the province, they approve it and based on that approval we have the option of this expansion,” said Councillor Woody Maguire. “If we find we’re on hard financial times and this is no longer needed, or we can no longer afford the services, then we do have the option of not using them.”
Troy Pollock, Manager of Planning Services, added some more information to the body of the report, indicating the growth of ridership in recent years.
“It’s all good signs there,” Pollock said. “We’ve been managing to regrow or reestablish that ridership, year-to-date this is the highest it’s been at this point of the year in all those years of service so things are looking really good there and again, with the shuttle service last season, ridership really picked back up again there.”
Mayor Don McCormick added that data from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure indicated around 5000 trips between Kimberley and Cranbrook are made each day.
“This commuter service has been extremely popular for folks working in Interior Health and living in Kimberley, the College and a number of other job-related trips that are going to Cranbrook,” McCormick said.
“This is a real opportunity to be able to up that level of service with a demand that is clearly there for it. I’m personally really looking forward to getting this expanded and getting some service times in there that’s going to be a little bit more amenable to the folks that are doing the trip.”
The motion was unanimously carried, so the expansion initiative will be included in BC Transit’s funding request to the province.