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Top Stories of 2013: Transit expansion sees ridership increase

In 2013, the transit system in Chilliwack underwent the biggest expansion in the city
In 2013, the transit system in Chilliwack underwent the biggest expansion in the city's history.
— image credit: Jenna Hauck/ Progress File

The expansion of the Chilliwack Transit System was a bit of an experiment, along the lines of the cinematic “if you build it, they will come.”

Indeed they did build a better transit system, and ridership responded in kind by getting on the bus in droves, just as predicted.

They added 7,500 service hours to the network in 2013, an increase of 30 per cent including the speedy route along Vedder/Yale corridor with the #1 bus route.

Ridership numbers almost immediately went up after the transit redesign.

In fact, April 2013 saw the highest ever one-month ridership total with 34,300 people getting on a Chilliwack bus. Of that, 21,400 were riding on #1, which zips north/south every 20 minutes.

Chilliwack transit riders were stoked to learn they were getting the biggest transit service expansion in the city’s history.

The expansion meant higher fares. An adult ticket jumped to $2 from $1.50. Youth and senior fares $1.75 from $1.25. So transit fares went up 25 per cent, or 50 cents for the average one-way ticket, marking the first fare increase in five years.

Two new buses came online to handle the extra hours. That allowed Chilliwack Transit to better serve the University of the Fraser Valley in the south, and Chilliwack middle and secondary schools in the north end.

The two new routes brought service closer to homes and malls.

Route No. 7 Broadway will serve west Chilliwack and Route No. 8 Tyson will link neighbourhoods in the south.

They added longer service hours until 10 p.m. six days a week and statutory holiday service at Sunday levels.

The changes, said BC Transit President and CEO Manuel Achadinha, were expected to make the Chilliwack transit system “more efficient and effective.”

Update: For more information on routes call 604.795.3838 or www.bctransit.com/regions/chw/

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Twitter.com/chwkjourno

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