Ridership of the KC Commuter bus service has increased by 9.2 per cent this year, according to a recent Transit Update and Annual Performance Summery presented to Kimberley City Council on Monday.
Manager of Planning Services Troy Pollock says that overall ridership of Kimberley Transit services continues to increase. Total riders for 2019 year-to-date (January to July) is 16,617, compared to 15,780 and 13,394 for the same period in 2018 and 2017.
These numbers come just ahead of the service expansion that will begin on Tuesday, September 3, 2019.
Monday daytime service will match the existing Tuesday through Friday service, and the KC Commuter schedule will add a new morning trip 30 minutes earlier, and a new evening trip 30 minutes later.
“Ridership on the winter shuttle service rebounded last season with a 28.3 per cent increase after a 29.5 per cent decline the previous season,” Pollock explained in the report. “The schedule was revised last season to be similar to that utilized in the 2016-17 season, which saw the most ridership ever. The main change was to delete the morning routes in favour of increased afternoon and evening roots.”
He adds that the schedule change seems to have been effective, resulting in the second highest ridership in the shuttle’s history.
In April, Council approved a Memorandum of Understanding to pursue a 50 per cent increase in the number of hours available for the shuttle service. The earliest that the expansion could take effect is in the 2020-21 season.
Mayor Don McCormick says that the ridership numbers are “fantastic” and hopes they continue to increase going forward with the expansion.
Councillor Kent Goodwin agreed, and adds that BC Transit recently announced they are looking into replacing their entire fleet with electric busses.
“It would be great if Kimberley could be part of that, let’s look into that,” he said.
Pollock replied saying that is indeed the goal of BC Transit, and that if Kimberley continues to show growth in ridership electric busses could possibility down the road.
Councillor Nigel Kitto ended the discussion by thanking all of the bus drivers and staff, “thanks to everyone who works so hard to make this possible. The bus divers are always happy and in a great mood so kudos to them and staff.”