Downtown Trail bus exchange, July 31. (Trail Times file photo)

Views sought on public transit in Trail

Open house at Trail Memorial Centre, Friday

BC Transit is inviting local ridership to have their say about potential service tweaks to public transit in the West Kootenay.

An online survey, open now and until Dec. 6, asks for feedback on proposed transit improvement options for the regional network, focusing on the area from Castlegar northwards.

To access the online survey click here: Survey

For those who would rather talk to BC Transit representatives face-to-face, there will be an opportunity in Trail on Friday, Nov. 29, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the red floor room of the Trail Memorial Centre.

“We’ve got people, for example, in Tadanac that are looking at why the bus service was stopped in Tadanac, and is it possible to renew it,” says Trail Coun. Robert Cacchioni, a transit committee member.

“So this is the opportunity for people who want to have additional or better service, to tell BC Transit.”

Read more: Revamping Trail bus exchange is gaining speed

Read more: More riders boarding Greater Trail public transit

Proposed options that are currently on the table were developed from the previous transit plan, extensive stakeholder conversations, and current ridership conditions, BC Transit says.

“We want your help to prioritize the various options which then will help us shape the new West Kootenay Transit Plan.”

Since 2013, transit ridership in the West Kootenay has risen by 30 per cent. The regional system now carries over 460,000 passengers per year.

The Nelson-Trail Inter-regional route via Playmor and Castlegar, called the 99 Kootenay Connector, offers eight round trips between Nelson and Castlegar on weekdays and three round trips between Nelson and Castlegar on Saturdays.

Another popular route, the 98 Columbia Connector, offers seven round trips between Castlegar and Trail on weekdays and three round trips between Castlegar and Trail on Saturdays.

BC Transit is looking for feedback on the possibility of increasing bus size, changing times, adding another trip each day or combining both connectors to 11 trips per weekday, and introducing round trips on Sunday.

As well, the service is looking at expanding the “Park & Ride” program. This transit infrastructure initiative, in partnership with local government, develops parking lots and bike storage in various locations around cities.

Ultimately, the goal of the program is to increase transit use by allowing people to park their cars or lock their bikes and take the bus the rest of the way to their destination.

To encourage the use of public transportation, Park & Ride is partially subsidized and, in some cases, free.

The survey and public session stems from a partnership between BC Transit, the Regional District of Central Kootenay, the City of Nelson and the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.

To complete the online survey, visit BC Transit’s website, and click the “Have your say …” link.

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