Representatives from B.C. Transit met with Harrison Hot Springs officials to review a portion of the Transit Future Action Plan during last week’s council meeting.
The Transit Future Action Plan (TFAP) is a document that evolved from the Transit Future Plan created in 2012 through the city of Chilliwack and the Fraser Valley Regional District. Adriana McMullen, senior transit planner, likened the document to the village’s Official Community Plan, a document meant to guide officials in decision-making through a list of somewhat broad, long-term goals.
McMullen’s presentation focused on paratransit, which is transit routes between rural areas and larger metropolitan areas as well as connecting rural areas to other rural areas. Agassiz-Harrison is on Route 11.
McMullen’s presentation also outlined service proposals for the near future of Route 11. A short-term priority would be to include consistent Sunday service as well as transit on statutory holidays. In the next three to five years, the medium-term priorities will be to increase weekday service hours and introduce a new route from the District of Kent to Mission via Highway 7.
B.C. Transit has begun rolling out the NextRide initiative, which would allow riders to see where a bus is along any given route along with predicted arrival times. This program has been rolling out since January – arriving first in the Cowichan Valley – and will ultimately be in all B.C. Transit communities.
From 2012 to 2019, ridership doubled in the service area, including the Chilliwack, Fraser Valley Express and Agassiz-Harrison routes. In the Agassiz-Harrison and Hope (Route 22) areas in particular, ridership increased by 50 per cent between 2010 and 2019.
“For areas that are rural, we don’t always see these kind of increases,” McMullen said. “It’s really encouraging to see the demand and interest in using transit is there in the community.”
There are an average of 160 riders per day that use Route 11 between 2019 and 2020, which McMullen said is a good ridership for the size of the system. It’s the fifth busiest route in the area rider’s guide; three of the top four are Chilliwack-based routes.
McMullen said on-time performance on Route 11 was low with about 27 per cent of busses arriving on time compared to arriving very late 46 per cent of the time. She attributed the unfavourable numbers to road work, particularly work that affected the Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge. There was no significant increase in customer service complaints.
– With files from Jessica Peters