BC Transit eyes new line in Squamish | Squamish Chief

BC Transit eyes new line in Squamish

Sea to Sky Transit Future event draws plenty of feedback in Squamish

People in the Sea to Sky Corridor have made it clear they want more buses on the streets, says BC Transit senior transit planner Elicia Elliott.
Her comments follow an entire weekend during which BC Transit invaded the corridor. The Sea to Sky Transit Future event saw BC Transit visit and chat to users in Pemberton, Whistler and Squamish from Thursday, Dec. 4 to Sunday, Dec. 7, and Elliott said the feedback has been constructive.
“It’s interesting that the feedback we’ve been getting hasn’t really been asking for more coverage but it’s more just an increase in frequency,” she said during the event’s stop at the Sea to Sky Gondola on Sunday. “So that’s validating that we’re doing the right thing and the network is currently mostly working.”
Transit service on Sunday was a frequent request.
“It’s really important to locals,” Elliott said. “People need to get to work seven days a week. Whether it happens or not, it depends on the feedback we receive. We can’t do everything at once, so being out here and collecting more feedback from people will help us figure out what is most important to do first.”
Elliott said that linking Pemberton, Whistler and Squamish to each other and to Metro Vancouver is also high on the priority list for each community. She said there was also a lot of discussion about the potential South Squamish Parks District line, which could come into effect with approved funding starting in June.
The pilot service would run from June to September and would operate on a 40-minute trip between downtown Squamish using existing stops and make stops at Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, the Sea to Sky Gondola and Shannon Falls Provincial Park.
“We know there is travel demands based on the high number of visitors to all three stops, and people have been requesting service to the Chief in particular for a long time,” Elliott said.
Sue Dixon, the operations manager for the Sea to Sky Gondola, said the potential new transit line would be a big benefit for her co-workers.
“It would be huge for staff,” she said. “And from a safety perspective it would be fantastic to get people off the highway. There are lots of people walking on the highway even though there are alternatives – I hate seeing kids on the highway because the number one priority should be safety.”
Dixon, a Squamish resident, said she might use the service if it aligned with her schedule and said it would be good for local people.
“We get a lot of moms and kids coming here and maybe they only have one car,” she said. “Or sometimes it’s easier to just jump on a bus rather than try and get the kids and everything else packed into a car.”
BC Transit also held information events at Totem Hall on Friday and the Squamish Winter Market and Chieftain Centre on Saturday. Elliott said the new line is contingent on funding from both the District of Squamish and the provincial government.
She added that feedback can still be sent online and that full survey results will be released in January. Funding for the line will be discussed in 2015.
The online survey runs until Dec. 19 and can be completed at www.fluidsurveys.com/surveys/bctransit/sts-december-2014.

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