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Cranbrook to bring transit study forward to RDEK


Cranbrook city council is hoping to bring the results of a transit study to the Regional District to advance conversations for more inter-community transit connectivity in the area.

The study recommendations include seeking additional investment by the province and BC Transit into inter-community transit options, improving road maintenance out to Aqam for better year-round transit, and including Aqam in the existing Kimberley-Cranbrook Health Connection service.

By bringing the study recommendations to the Regional District, more East Kootenay officials can be looped into the challenges and opportunities with improving inter-community connectivity.

The study sought extensive public engagement, receiving feedback from 1,316 East Kootenay residents, which included input from the College of the Rockies and Aqam.

The study, fully funded by a federal government grant, provided a few different concepts.

The most labour-intensive is a fully integrated system with service between Cranbrook, Kimberley, Aqam, and the Canadian Rockies International Airport, that includes all as funding partners, with an estimated five-year implementation timeline.

A secondary option includes a locally facilitated service, with flexible on-demand service between Cranbrook, Kimberley, Aqam and the airport, with a two to five year implementation timeline.

A third option includes beefing up an existing Interior Health service to include Aqam that could be implemented relatively quickly.

In Cranbrook, the existing systems are largely for local routes and services.

As far as the funding goes, the city provides just over half of the cost for conventional bus transit, while the province supplements the remainder. Similarly, the city also pays just under half of custom transit options, such as HandyDart, while the province provides the rest.

Between conventional and custom, the City is budgeting just over $1.1 million for it’s cost share of the municipal system in 2024.

Regionally, the RDEK funds and set service levels for inter-municipal transit systems such as the Elk Valley and Columbia Valley transit systems.

Additionally, Interior Health funds all Health Connection, with oversight provided by municipalities and the RDEK.

Trevor Crawley

About the Author: Trevor Crawley

Trevor Crawley has been a reporter with the Cranbrook Townsman and Black Press in various roles since 2011.
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