Skip to content

Governments receive transit overview

Delegation asks for city and regional board approval

City of Powell River Council and Powell River Regional District representatives received final drafts of public transit system service reviews from BC Transit.

BC Transit representatives met with the city’s committee of the whole, and the regional district’s rural services committee, Thursday, March 19, to outline findings from an extensive consultation process with both the city and regional district.

Alison McDonald, BC Transit transportation planner, told city council that the purpose of the transit service review was to provide a recap of the local transit system, a consultation overview, the service review’s key findings and a detailed look at the short-term options. These are proposed for implementation in September of this year.

“The desired outcome from our delegation would be to receive approval at tonight’s council meeting for us to work with city staff to finalize the final draft report,” McDonald said. “Secondly, the aim is to proceed toward a September 2015 implementation of the proposed short-term service changes and thirdly, that the city receive the fare structure review as information.”

According to an executive summary for the city, specific objectives of the service review are:

• Encourage ridership growth, with the aim on the conventional transit system of meeting the City of Powell River’s goal of achieving a public transportation mode share target of five per cent by 2020.

• Increase the attractiveness of transit by improving on-time performance and adjusting routing to make service faster and more direct.

• Adjusting schedules where possible to make them more convenient.

• Reallocating existing service and making targeted investments in additional service to increase existing customers’ satisfaction and attract new riders.

• Making infrastructure improvements (bus stop relocations, shelter and bench additions) and updating transit system signage to increase the safety and attractiveness of public transit.

• Optimize the transit system’s efficiency and effectiveness by ensuring that available service hours, now and in the future, are allocated to maximize productivity and cost recovery.

• Review Powell River Regional Transit System’s fleet, which could lead to replacing larger vehicles with smaller ones in order to reduce vehicle lease fees, fuel costs, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Analysis of the community and its transit system was based on a variety of census sources, community plans, public engagement activities and system-specific data sources. The proposed service change options were developed with the collaboration and feedback of elected officials and staff of the city and regional district, the staff of Powell River Municipal Transportation (which operates the conventional transit system) and Powell River Taxi Ltd., transit passengers, and representatives from a wide array of organizations representing education, social services, and the business community.

Three public transit services exist through the Powell River region. The city operates a fixed route service operating on a schedule. It also is a funding partner for the handiDART service, which works on a booking system to transport people with permanent or temporary disabilities that prevent them from using fixed-route transit without assistance from another person. Customers must first register, at no charge, for this program.

In the regional district, there is a paratransit service in rural areas, which operates mainly with a fixed route and schedule but has some flexibility to deviate off route by request for passengers with mobility difficulties.

Mayor Dave Formosa offered his commendation to the BC Transit representatives at the meeting for having done a great job.