An affirmative vote this week by Chilliwack council means bus riders on route #66 are one step closer to the most extensive expansion yet for the bus service known as the Fraser Valley Express.
The regional bus will travel directly to the Lougheed SkyTrain station as part of a 2020-21 FVRD initiative to extend the route at a net cost of just under half a million dollars.
The recommendation was for the route be extended to the Lougheed station in Burnaby, but during the council discussion Tuesday afternoon in Chilliwack, Coun. Jeff Shields asked about the rationale for choosing the Lougheed rather than the Braid SkyTrain station as the ultimate destination.
Currently, the service ends its run at Langley Carvolth bus exchange and rider have to board a second bus to connect to the SkyTrain over the Port Mann.
The possibility of additional SkyTrain stops aside from the Lougheed is something the FVRD board would have to determine at a later date.
Chilliwack council already gave the FVX expansion consent in principle, as did Abbotsford council, but the FVRD board also requires approval of an amendment bylaw to approve the necessary tax requisition for the service area changes.
“With the 2019 actual requisition of $695,930 plus the estimated additional net municipal share of $494,000, it is anticipated that the actual requisition could increase to approximately $1,200,000 by 2023,” according to the staff report.
The cost split sees 63.8 per cent paid by the City of Abbotsford and 36.2 per cent by City of Chilliwack, according to the funding arrangements.
Once approval is granted from Chilliwack and Abbotsford city councils, the bylaw amendment on the expansion will go the BC Inspector of Municipalities before returning to the FVRD board for final adoption.
Travelling to downtown Vancouver on the FVX would take a little more than two hours from Chilliwack or about 1.5 hours from Abbotsford. The trip would cost a little less than $10 as it stands, with a single ticket on the Fraser Valley Express currently at $5 and the SkyTrain journey between Lougheed Station and downtown Vancouver costing $4.20.
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