Transit to Kamloops is once more available one day a week for area residents.
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District is partnering with the District of Clearwater and the District of Barriere to offer weekly transit service from Vavenby to Kamloops. The one-year pilot project will commence Tuesday, Feb. 1, and run until Dec. 31 of the calendar year.
“Hopefully the bus service will help those who need it most,” said Electoral Area ‘O’ (Lower North Thompson) director Bonnie CruzelleMyram. “The idea is to offer alternative transportation to a section of the community who might not be able to afford it otherwise.”
A one day a week medical appointment bus had previously permitted other users, if it was not filled with those going to medical appointments in Kamloops. However, those using the service for shopping trips and other chores were shocked last fall when the medical transport bus was restructured and they were no longer permitted to ride it.
A local senior, who frequently had used that service, says “Bringing back the one day a week transit to Kamloops is a really good thing. I thought we would have to move to Kamloops after they cancelled the other bus. I do not drive, and therefore had no way to get to Kamloops that was affordable on a fixed income. This is so much better. I hope they will continue, and eventually offer the bus for more than two days a week. There are a lot of seniors in this Valley and we really need a transit service.”
The one year pilot project for the new service anticipates a ridership of approximately 780 passengers per year. The weekly transit run will make stops in Vavenby, Clearwater, Blackpool, Little Fort, Barriere and Kamloops. Morning pick-ups will not include Vavenby as community buses already run through the community at that time on another route.
“There’s a definite social need for it,” said Electoral Area ‘A’ (Wells Gray Country) director Tim Pennell. “We did three trial runs in December and the transit service was well used.”
The money to pay for the TNRD’s portion of the transit service will come from the Federal Gas Tax Revenues Community Works Fund component. Both the District of Clearwater and Barriere previously passed resolutions to contribute their portion of the costs for the project.