The idea of an express bus shuttling passengers from Chilliwack to Abbotsford was very high on the BC Transit priority list.
The Fraser Valley Express is set to roll from downtown Chilliwack to points west for the first time on April 6.
Local stops of the #55 FVX will include the Lickman Park and Ride, Vedder and Luckakuck and downtown Chilliwack.
They will be offering free bus rides on the first day of service on April 6, BC Transit senior regional transit manager Johann VanSchaik told Chilliwack council.
The long-awaited regional bus route will connect Chilliwack to Abbotsford, and Langley.
“I don’t think I have been so excited for something in a long time,” said Mayor Sharon Gaetz.
It should take just under an hour and half to take the bus from Chilliwack to Langley, at at estimated 79 minutes, and with transfers to get to the ferries in 222 minutes.
“A very conservative” estimate for the annual ridership in Chilliwack is 136,000 for the new bus, the BC Transit official said.
The suggestion was made that they may have to look at starting Chilliwack local transit service “earlier in the morning” to accommodate the 5:15 time for the first westbound trip from downtown. The last one leaves at 9:05 p.m.
In Abbotsford, the Express will stop at the McCallum park and ride and Highstreet Shopping Centre, and in Langley at Carvolth Exchange.
It will cost $5 for a ticket and free for kids eight years and under. A book of 10 tickets will cost $45, and an adult monthly pass will be $100 and a student/senior monthly pass will cost $85.
Abbotsford and Chilliwack will each pay for part of the service, with Abbotsford’s projected share at $411,897 and Chilliwack’s at $233,709. BC Transit will contribute $704,813.
Next steps include more talks about schedules and routing, and work on plans like expanding the local Chilliwack system or connecting to Agassiz and Hope.