Thursday May 5, 2011

Local News  

Hop On The Bus, Gus

Future Bus takes BC transit's strategic plan to future riders  

Staff/Voice photos


Mike Davis, VP and Chief Operating Officer of BC Transit, invited people on board the Future Bus Monday at Chilliwack City Hall.


C Transit's Future Bus made a scheduled stop in Chilliwack Monday at City Hall where Mayor Sharon Gaetz, council members and Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) directors climbed on board to have a look at what the city's bus service will look like over the next 25-years.

The mobile open house is a BC Transit brainchild. It's focus is to travel throughout the various communities in the Lower Mainland educating people and gathering input and suggestions from the public as to how transit will shape up over the next quarter century based on the newly compiled Transit Study which looks at improving transit over that time.

Future Bus community program coordinator, Joanna Linsangan, said it was the first time the corporation had done anything like this before.

"We really wanted to make it a point to have a stop here in Chilliwack," said Linsangan.

What BC Transit is looking for are answers to questions like; Why transit matters; what kind of service do people expect; how the system should be paid for and customer amenity improvements.

Gaetz spoke to the small contingent of media and FVRD directors gathered on the front steps of City Hall saying that council and FVRD board members listened to resident's concerns and that people want to see changes to the transportation system in Chilliwack.

"Whether you're trying to get to work, or simply going to the mall to shop, people are saying this is what we want, we want a better way to be able to get to school, get to university, all of those kind of things," said Gaetz. "They're telling us that's the way it is right now, it's not working for them."

"I'm hoping that everyone will jump on this opportunity to let your voice be heard and let us know how we can make feasible improvements for the long term and the short-term."

Gaetz said that short-term improvements will be new fare boxes which are hoped to add more fare options.

"We also want your opinion on two new routing opportunities for the City of Chilliwack and we are also looking forward to having the recommendations from the study that was done with BC Transit and FVRD and the Ministry, to support our goals for a cleaner and greener Fraser Valley Regional District and City of Chilliwack

Mike Davis, VP and Chief Operating Officer of BC Transit said his mandate is to double ridership over the next 25-years.

"If we have to double ridership over that time period, what's it going to take, how do we have to restructure our routes, how do we work with our municipal partners to make sure that the land use and the community development are set up so we really have a transit-supported sustainable community and one that will be for everybody to travel around."

Inside the brightly painted 40-foot Flyer, the sides were covered in route maps and interactive displays.

Davis says they've had plenty of feedback at the mobile open house in the Upper Fraser Valley and the trek will continnue for another week.

"I know that in other communities we've been in, we've had unprecedented numbers of people coming through and talking to us compared to our much more standard open house."

Part of how they develop the plan depends on the feedback on issues such as linking communities together and affordability.

Linking the Abbotsford and Chilliwack UFV campuses is something they are looking at and currently, they're developing a plan.

"That's not quite ready yet, but it's supposed to be done soon and start to see whether that can be worked into people's budgets."

Davis didn't think a light rail transit system would work mainly because there isn't enough population to support a track which would cost $75-million per kilometer.

David Lamson, FVRD Director Area E, said he used to ride the old intra-urban line when he was a kid but the trip to Vancouver took over 3-hours on a milk run through the communities of Upper Sumas, Huntingdon, Abbotsford, Mt. Lehman, Langley and Cloverdale.

"This will be much faster, much better than their idea of using that old system," said Lamson of the old rail line. "That's why it went out in 1950 because it was too slow and took too long."

To see the "Strategic Review of Transit in the Fraser Valley" go here.

For the latest updates on BC Transit's plan for Chilliwack visit here.

More photos below.

Copyright (c) 2011 The Valley Voice


The end of the gallery. Thanks for looking. return to the main page here.