It’s time to lobby the province for regional transit funding, say Squamish officials.
Daily, approximately 2,000 single-occupant vehicles make their way from Squamish to Vancouver, District of Squamish transportation coordinator Kimberley Armour told the Transit Standing Committee. On Tuesday, Oct. 9, the committee sat down with B.C. Transit staff and Sea to Sea Corridor officials to brainstorm ways to provide commuter transportation for the route.
“We have all been kind of waiting for this,” committee participant Scott McQuade said.
Such a system faces two big challenges, said Johann van Schaik, B.C. Transit’s senior regional transit manager. The major problem with long-haul routes is that the number of riders per hour is low, he noted. A bigger question yet is who pays the service, van Schaik said.
“Hopefully it will be a regional model that comes from the province,” he said.
Next year, B.C. Transit is scheduled to develop a 25-year transit plan for the Sea to Sky Corridor, van Schaik noted. The “living” document will examine services between the region’s three major towns and guide future investment.
“Obviously one has to look at affordability,” van Schaik said. “That is all part of the process.”
Last month, the provincial Crown corporation unveiled the B.C. Transit Independent Review Panel, which asks the province to look at the question of funding for regional services, he added.
Politicians throughout the corridor need to come to the table and lobby the province for funding, Coun. Susan Chapelle said.
“One of the biggest issues is that everybody is having local conversation on it,” she said.
Whistler Coun. Jack Crompton owns Whistler Shuttle, a company that runs direct bus services between the Vancouver International Airport and Whistler. There may be an option of incorporating a commuter run into current service, he said, as long as there’s not a $10 cap on fares. He speculated the model could focus on people wanting to use their laptops while going to and from work.