The 2013 transit expansion comes this fall with a fare increase.

The 2013 transit expansion comes this fall with a fare increase.

Chilliwack transit grows and fare increase comes with it

It's the largest expansion in the history of the Chilliwack Transit System and it's coming this fall

It’s the largest expansion in the history of the Chilliwack Transit System and it’s coming this fall with an adult fare increase of fifty cents.

Council approved the 2013 Transit Expansion plan Tuesday, which calls for an extension of the service day and expanded routes, as well as a fare increase for adults from $1.50 to $2, as recommended for Chilliwack by BC Transit.

In fact it was Chilliwack council that requested BC Transit postpone the fare hike until local ridership had the chance to test out the new transit routes and bus schedule.

The result was that ridership on Chilliwack buses grew “steadily” with an increase of 9 per cent, since 10 bus routes were streamlined down to four last year, said Rod Sanderson, director of Transportation and Roads, during his presentation to council.

The growth is mainly the result of the introduction of 20-minute bus service on the Yale-Vedder corridor.

The expansion adds 7,500 hours of service and for the first time buses will roll on 11 statutory holidays.

Coun. Jason Lum commented he was pleased BC Transit was amenable to holding off on the increase in adult fares from $1.50 to $2 until the fall.

“I like the expansion and I like the fact that the public endorsed the new routes,” he said in chambers during the council meeting.

The new $2 bus fare compares favourably with Abbotsford which charges $2.25 and Langley at $2.75. Seniors and students will pay $1.75.

“This expansion has been long-awaited,” said Mayor Sharon Gaetz.

“I’m pleased we were able to keep our fares under our neighbours’,” she said.

The 2013 expansion will include the creation of two new “neighbourhood service” routes. The first, the #7 Broadway route will bring back service to the First Avenue and McNaught Road area, then travelling south the length of Broadway, using Young Road and Luckakuck to reach the Cottonwood Mall. The bus will return on the same roads.

The second, the #8 Tyson bus will start at the malls and travel south along the Evans-Tyson corridor serving the Cumberland – Carter neighbourhoods. The bus returns the same way it came, and this new route will also offer bi-directional service.

The introduction of new route #7 Broadway allows minor changes to existing route #2 Evans to simplify the schedule. Also, the existing #3 Chilliwack now services the area north of Yale Road and has added service to Portage and Williams, reducing walking distances for the mobility challenged.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Twitter.com/chwkjourno