Rapid decline in Elk Valley transit figures

Elk Valley transit numbers have decreased significantly this year, with passenger figures dropping from 751 in May 2014 to 554 this May.

Elk Valley transit numbers have decreased significantly this past year, with passenger figures dropping from 751 in May of 2014 to 554 in May 2015.

During the July 13 District of Elkford council meeting, staff reviewed the Elk Valley Transit Ridership Report, which shows a consist decrease from 2014 and 2013 figures to 2015 figures.

BC Transit Regional Transit Manager Ryan Little said that the decrease is believed to be the result of fewer Fernie Academy students and temporary employees accessing the Route 1 bus.

“There’s been no changes made to the service compared to last year, so it’s just people not getting on the bus as much as they were last year,” Little said, adding that the BC Transit Board believes the lower figures are the result of limited bus spaces. “The bus was getting to capacity so people were waiting at the bus stop to get on and there would be no room left.”

Low coal prices and a reduction in temporary employees are also predicted to have negatively impacted the amount of passengers travelling by transit.

“Things are not moving as quickly as they were last year,” Little explained, noting that he believes fewer temporary employees are coming to the area.

Although 2015 passenger numbers continue to dwindle, Little said that BC Transit hopes to have a bigger bus available for riders in the next two months — a decision that was made last year after the capacity issue came to light.

“We’re hoping that will turn things around,” Little said, adding, “Hopefully we can get some of those riders back.”

For more information on the Route 1 schedule, visit bctransit.com/elk-valley.home