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Bus routes can be a slippery slope

Trail’s topography was the top topic of a resolution at the recent Union of B.C. Municipalities meeting in Victoria.

Trail’s topography was the top topic of a resolution at the recent Union of B.C. Municipalities meeting in Victoria.

Being situated on the steep valley sides of the Columbia River, some Silver City neighbourhood streets and avenues find themselves as slippery slopes when winter hits.

As a result, the city’s burly buses are unable to make it up the grades, negating transit service to the residents in older areas—like West Trail—on heavy snow days and stranding some residents.

Late last month, Trail council advanced a resolution—provincial development of a rural transportation strategy—towards solving that situation that received unanimous support at the convention of all municipal governments in B.C.

But Mayor Dieter Bogs said the resolution had Trail’s unique topography of steep streets at its heart.

“Buses here find it difficult to run up (to West Trail) during certain times in the winter,” he said, adding that a few days a week are being missed in the heart of winter. “We need a more comprehensive strategy for rural B.C. and rural transportation.”

If there can’t be buses running during those times, Bogs added, maybe they need to initiate a taxi service for that short of a time frame. The province could work with the local taxi service and coordinate transportation at same rate as if people took a bus, he explained.

“It’s time, particularly in areas where big buses shouldn’t be running or can’t, that we need smaller buses and coordinate a more comprehensive transportation strategy,” Bogs said.

No one spoke against the resolution and it passed unanimously.

The UBCM will now request that the province develop a transportation strategy to critically assess and determine solutions towards the sustainability of passenger directed vehicle operations including both public transit and taxis in rural communities.

The resolution will go through the UBCM resolutions committee, taking it to the provincial government level for consideration as legislation or policy.

UBCM member municipalities submitted a total of 203 resolutions before the June 30 deadline. In 2012, members’ resolutions reflected local government contexts and concerns, and responded to provincial and federal initiatives and legislation.

Local governments also expressed frustration due to limited revenue sources, as they cope with funding and program cuts by the provincial and federal governments.