Folks from across the Fraser Valley have been getting their kicks on Route 66.
The new regional bus, called the Fraser Valley Express, or FVX for short, is marking its one-year anniversary this week.
Some special events are planned to celebrate and thank the ridership for making #66 FVX the roaring success that has become.
Everyone can take the bus for free on Saturday, April 9, and the day before on April 8, there will be “transit ambassadors” riding the FVX as of the crack of dawn, offering cupcakes and scratch-and-win bookmarks, with a one-month BC Transit pass in the offing.
A total of 235 bus riders put fares into the box or swiped passes as a daily average in the first year, according to BC Transit, which blew away the 195 rides projected when the bus service began.
“The FVX is an invaluable service to the residents of our region and we have been pleased to partner with BC Transit on this initiative,” said Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz, who is also FVRD chair. “Taking the bus is a great alternative to driving.”
Try it out this Saturday for free. It’s a chance to leave the car at home, and relax.
In its first year, the FVX has proven to be more than just a fast bus route from Chilliwack, through Abbotsford, to Langley. It’s connected the Fraser Valley communities in a way that’s never been seen before.
“It’s like the old adage says, if you build it, they will come,” said Coun. Jason Lum, vice chair of the transportation advisory council. “To have this become one of the most successful launches of a new regional transit route in B.C. is most exciting.”
So just how successful is the FVX?
“Certainly it has outstripped our projections,” said BC Transit spokesman Drew Snider.
There were 86,500 trips taken between last April and the end of March 2016 — substantially more than the projected figure of 69,000.
“The success of this service in the first year speaks to how important this is for our region,” said Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun. “The communities south of the Fraser River are some of the fastest growing in the province and this route connecting our cities is an essential part of our regional transportation network.”
The bus takes 17 daily trips on the #66 route, with four on Saturdays covering the 65 km.
Ridership comments have been very positive.
“Many Chilliwack residents have experienced the convenience of taking the FVX bus to neighbouring communities over the past year,” said John Martin, MLA for Chilliwack. “Whether to commute to work or visit a favourite shopping destination, I hope more people take the opportunity to access this service and explore the many amenities in the Fraser Valley, including those in our own community.”
There are only six stops along the route: three in Chilliwack, two in Abbotsford and the terminus at Carvolth Exchange in Langley.
For schedules see www.bctransit.com/chilliwack.