A renewed City of Kamloops transit plan calls for an additional 26,000 service hours to increase ridership over the next five years.
Representatives from the City of Kamloops and BC Transit presented the draft plan of the Kamloops Transit Future Plan — a renewed version of the 2012 plan — to city council at a committee of the whole meeting this week.
Many short- and medium-term objectives from the 2012 plan have been completed, necessitating an update.
The revised plan recommends expanding service hours by 26,300 and adding 15 more vehicles in the next five years — a cost of about $350,000 to the municipality per year for an average increase of 5,000 hours.
Short-term infrastructure priorities within three years include exploring the idea of building a transit exchange in Valleyview and identifying a new site for the Thompson Rivers University bus exchange.
Mid-term priorities that are three to five years out include studying the implementation of a park-and-ride system — which involves motorists leaving their cars in parking lots and travelling to the city centre on public transportation — and expanding the bus shelter program.
Improved accessibility to existing bus stops is also recommended, which was an identified priority in the 2012 plan, as was a bus exchange in Valleyview — money for which is being set aside by the city, Deven Matkowski, the city's engineering manager, told council.
Strategic priorities in the plan include right-sizing buses and expanding transit service to more areas as the city grows, with the report noting Ord Road in Brocklehurst and Qu’Appelle Boulevard in Juniper Ridge as areas that should be monitored.
During a feedback portion of the meeting, Coun. Arjun Singh said he would like the plan to address how bus service can be made more reliable, noting he has heard from some vehicle owners intent on taking the bus, but who have been let down in the past.
“If we lose those folks, we’re really in a big pickle of trying to get more riders on the bus,” Singh said.
Matkowski said the topic of reliability will be discussed at a future council committee meeting.
Singh said he is concerned people are having bad experiences taking the bus, which isn’t acceptable if the city wants to move people to transit from private vehicles.
“We don’t want it to be a loser cruiser,” Singh said. “We want it to be a way of choice, so this is a big concern.”
Councillors’ feedback from the meeting will be incorporated into the draft plan, which will be come back for adoption at a future regular city council meeting.