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Future planning for Chilliwack transit aims to restore ridership lost to pandemic

Transit future plan envisions adding peak buses and service hours over next five years
Transit Future Action Plan for Chilliwack and FVRD aimed at increasing services over five years and restoring ridership to pre-COVID levels. (BC Transit)

Improving Chilliwack transit services over the next five years while striving to recover ridership lost to the pandemic is part of the draft 2020 Chilliwack and the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) ‘Transit Future Action Plan.’

City council is expected to receive the draft BC Transit report for information, at the May 18 council meeting.

The proposed transit improvements for Chilliwack include annual service hours increased by 21,000 hours in the short and medium term, and by further adding 11,840 service hours in the long term.

The plan proposes capital investments that would see more peak buses added in the next five years, as well as upgrades to transit exchanges.

Before COVID-19 hit, the draft Transit Future Action Plan (TFAP) was ready for public commentary but it ended up being delayed as the pandemic brought rapid changes to transit ridership that necessitated swift action to keep transit as an essential service.

Planning is now underway with an eye to restoring ridership to pre-COVID levels.

“The focus of the TFAP had to adjust to consider pandemic recovery along with continued growth over the next five years,” according to the staff report contained in the May 18 council agenda.

Chilliwack’s financial plan “currently has funding allocated for transit expansion in 2022,” according to the staff report, but annual expansion beyond 2022 will have future tax increase implications that will have to be reviewed by council during future budget discussions.

Chilliwack’s estimated share would be $283,000, which is expected to be partly offset by revenues.

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Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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