Kimberley City Council has voted to further expand the Kimberley Public Transit service for the year 2019.
At a regular Council meeting on Monday, June 11, 2018, Council discussed the ridership over the past few years, and agreed to proceed with another expansion for Monday daytime service and the Kimberley/Cranbrook commuter service.
Manager of Planning Services Troy Pollock says that overall, ridership on Kimberley Transit services have increased each year for the past five years.
He added that the new KC Commuter Service has been “very successful” with an average of 20 riders per day. He hopes those numbers continue to increase over time.
In 2013, Kimberley transit saw 14,233 riders annually. It has steadily increased to 21,815 in 2017.
Staff recommended expanding the Monday daytime service to Cranbrook with an additional three trips to match the current Tuesday to Friday daytime service. The additional expansion would result in five trips per day Monday through Friday. The potential Monday expansion would not require additional vehicles and would not begin until September 2019. The initial estimated cost to the City is $7,383 annually.
They also recommended expanding the KC Commuter Service to Cranbrook with additional morning and evening trips to and from Cranbrook Monday to Friday. Along with the addition of Monday daytime service (if approved), the additional commuter service would result in seven trips per day Monday through Friday. The potential commuter expansion will require an additional vehicle so the initial estimated cost to the City is approximately $34,084 annually. The expanded service would also begin in September 2019.
Now that the expansion has been approved by Council, it will also need to be approved by the Provincial government before plans can be set in motion.
Mayor Don McCormick says that the biggest issue they are seeing with the KC Commuter service is the time(s) of day the service is offered. He added that ridership has gone up considerably, and it’s worth adjusting the times that the bus leaves both cities.
“If the bus leaves Cranbrook at 4:30 or 4:45, there are people who work until 5p.m. who aren’t able to catch that last bus out of town,” McCormick explained.
Councillor Kent Goodwin argued that an annual cost of $34,084 is expensive, and therefore might affect taxes.
“I’m not sure if it’s worth $30,000 for 10 or 20 people. I would tend to want to wait for more demand,” he said.
Councillor Sandra Roberts replied saying that despite the cost, it’s worth taking the risk. She says that if there is no service to offer, there is no way it is going to expand.
Councillor Bev Middlebrook agreed, saying that she can “only see growth” moving forward, and considering the price of gas, it’s a good investment for the City.
McCormick also says that there is a potential for cost-sharing with Cranbrook, considering the residents there are using the service as well.