Sharing the cost may put valley community bus on the road again

It looks as if there will be a weekly community bus to Kamloops again.

  • Jan. 10, 2011 10:00 a.m.

It looks as if there will be a weekly community bus to Kamloops again.

Last Tuesday Clearwater council approved sharing costs of up to $15,000 per year to provide the service.

The costs would be shared 30 per cent from District of Clearwater, 30 per cent from Wells Gray Country (Area A), 20 per cent from District of Barriere, and 20 per cent from Lower North Thompson (Area O).

The project also would be contingent on approval from B.C. Transit Authority.

Mayor John Harwood noted there has been a demand in the community for transit since Interior Health Authority cut its weekly bus run into Kamloops last fall.

Restoring the service would help build capacity in the community, he felt.

Priority on the IHA bus had been given to people with medical appointments but members of the general public also could take advantage of the service, if seats were available. The schedule for the only alternative, Greyhound, is inconvenient and the fares are too high for those on limited incomes.

The IHA bus service was consolidated with a weekly bus service being run by Northern Health Authority from Valemount to Kamloops. Use of the Northern Health bus is limited to those with medical appointments only.

Corporate administrator Leslie Groulx noted that a three-week pilot study done before Christmas had achieved good results. Nine people rode the bus to Kamloops the first week, 17 the second, and five the third – although she noted the last week was just a few days before Christmas.

Yellowhead Community Services, which operates the transit bus system, offered two scenarios, Groulx said. The first would include all the costs, which would total about $25,000 per year. Fares would bring in about $10,000, which would leave $15,000 for local taxpayers to pick up.

The second scenario would not include administration fees. Total cost would be about $19,000, which would leave about $8,600 for local taxpayers to pick up after fares are paid.

Groulx said possibly gas tax funding could be used, not for operating costs, but to reduce debt service charges.

The former IHA bus service ran from Blue River to Kamloops while the proposed new service would just be from Vavenby. Going to and from Blue River would add several hours to the trip and would not result in enough more passengers, it was felt.

The new service also likely will run on Tuesdays to avoid traveling on the same day as the Northern Health bus, which makes its trip on Thursdays.