This winter, the City of Fernie will have buses running from Fernie Alpine Resort to downtown every half hour through the day, thanks to a partnership with the resort, as well as Tourism Fernie.
Council gave the nod to go forward with the agreement at their meeting on Monday night, after getting a chance to see the shuttles that morning.
“It’s a permanent regular service that people can depend on,” said Mayor Mary Giuliano. “We really haven’t had a service like that.”
The shuttles, which are two, 24-passenger buses that the City purchased earlier this year with a Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) grant, are set to run every half hour from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
The service will run from Dec 21 to April 8. The City will be reassessing the shuttle program after the ski season, to measure its success.
“This is huge,” said the mayor. “This is going to show that Fernie is now in the league that it should have been when it comes to having bussing.”
She says previous bus programs were problematic, because the services were always contracted out and didn’t have enough funding.
She says that with the City owning a set of buses, they can now provide dependable service. It puts Fernie in the league with other resort communities in terms of transportation, she said.
The bus will cost $4.00 per ride each way, or $35.00 for a book of 10 tickets.
“The shuttle taskforce has done significant research and this model holds the most promise for a sustainable service over the long term,” said CAO Norm McInnis.
The City formed a taskforce to work on developing the bus service, which consisted of members from Tourism Fernie, The Fernie Chamber of Commerce as well as FAR.
As per the agreement, the City owned buses will be serviced and maintained by Resorts of the Canadian Rockies and Fernie Alpine Resort.