During a recent Carbon Neutral Sub-committee meeting, the issue of public transit and ridership was raised.
The City of Grand Forks currently operates on a dial-a-bus system, where a call is placed the day prior in order to receive a ride the next day.
Former Chair of the Public Safety Committee, Coun. Gene Robert would like to see a permanent route for the buses, as well as scheduled times during the week.
“This is more in terms of people going to Trail for tests on fixed incomes,” said Robert.
“At the time, Greyhound had cancelled the trip for a second time so these people had to leave either in the afternoon, arriving in Trail around midnight, then having to wait for a medical test in the morning.”
There are three buses currently operating, two for public use and one for the Hardy View Lodge seniors for day trips.
“Now it’s called dial-a-bus,” stated Robert.
“You dial it Tuesday to get it Wednesday and it’s just not convenient for everyone.”
There are two issues that the Public Safety Committee would like Robert and the Carbon Neutral Sub-committee to look at: asking B.C. transit to conduct a survey in Grand Forks to see if it warrants a regular bus route and another option of having a seasonal service to the hospital in Trail.
A previous B.C. Transit route that took passengers to and from Christina Lake was cancelled a few years ago due to lack of ridership.
“What I’m asking for is a regular bus route and medical transportation over the passes to Trail,” stated Robert.
Robert pointed that Merritt has the same population and almost identical situation as Grand Forks, yet has a well-operating transit system.
Coun. Chris Moslin is also supportive but wondered about ridership and costs.
“I’d like to get a hold of the survey results,” said Moslin. “The question is about ridership; how many people are going to use this and make it efficiently serviceable. If the bus runs around empty, there’s no use for it.”
A recent redesign plan of downtown includes five bus stops and Robert asserted that everything is in place for a bus route.
“We just need to get the players out and then we need to think about the costs,” he concluded.