BC Transit reaches out to the public for improvements

Wanting to improve the city’s bus system, BC Transit holds a public conversation

The Sustainable Kamloops Action Plan looks to increase transit ridership by 50 per cent by 2020. (Christian Varty/The Omega)

BC Transit opened their ears to the general public on Wednesday in a two-part open conversation of improvements currently in the works, as well as those community members would like to see. City of Kamloops city planner Cheryl Fraser as well as BC Transit city planner Bronson Bullivant were present to answer any questions regarding public transit in the community.

BC Transit and the City of Kamloops have been continuing to work on the 2012 Transit Future Action Plan (TFAP). The TFAP focuses on the visions and improvements the community would like to see in the region.

The goal of the current TFAP is to contribute to a more environmentally sustainable Kamloops, integrate with other transportation modes and make transit in Kamloops more attractive compared to private vehicles.

The Sustainable Kamloops Plan, adopted by Kamloops City Council in 2010, sets a target to increase transit ridership by 50 per cent (from 2008 levels) by 2020.

“We do recognize that it can be an issue, especially for some less-utilized routes like the #17. A lot of these routes that don’t necessarily get as much attention as the bigger ones like the #1, the #7 and the #9,” said Bullivant.  “That’s something that we recognize and are giving the people the opportunity to speak up if something is really bothering them.”

Kamloops currently is not functioning as a Frequent Transit Network (FTN) used by medium to high-density communities. These trips are meant to be reliable and frequent (15 minutes or less and often running between 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.), which on many of the less common routes is not the case. Due to the population of the Kamloops and the ridership, increasing the frequency of these trips is a major priority for the current TFAP. 

One of the goals of the Sustainable Kamloops Plan is to reduce automobile usage in Kamloops, particularly single-occupant vehicles, by increasing the use of alternate modes of travel and integrating land use and transportation planning.

BC Transit and the City of Kamloops have been working with TRU and local high schools to create a schedule that easily incorporates the start and end times of classes. 

“A lot of the time these trips are not only aligned with the university but also the secondary schools, and their bell times change quite often, so we have to make sure we’re hitting those while also staying on-time for university,” said Bullivant.  “We do our best, we work with TRU quite a bit to make sure we’re hitting those main times.”

Among the proposed improvement include tailoring routes to fit where the population has settled, making trips as direct as possible by reducing the number of deviations in transit routes. This would include introducing a separate route through Battle St. and keeping the #7 strictly through Bestwick Dr. to keep wait times short and frequent. 

All plans made in the TFAP are staggered in short-term, medium-term and long-term duration to maximize the effectiveness of the improvements. Some improvements could be actualized in as little as five years. For more information on the current TFAP go to letstalk.kamloops.ca/transitaction.