The Kitimat-Terrace Connector bus on the Skeena transit route arrives at the City Centre bus stop.

The Kitimat-Terrace Connector bus on the Skeena transit route arrives at the City Centre bus stop.

Skeena transit gets reviewed

People can still make comments on a report on the Skeena public transit system.

A service review of the Skeena public transit system has brought out a number of recommendations, among them increased routes on the Connector bus to Terrace, with the possibility of servicing the airport more frequently.

The draft transit review is currently available for viewing on the District of Kitimat’s website (www.kitimat.ca) and shows a number of possible changes to the transit system, both short term and long term.

Any action on the report would have to come from the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine, which manages the Skeena transit system which services runs beetween Terrace and Kitimat, as well as nearby communities along Highway 16.

The Terrace-Kitimat Connector, the report notes, is often packed full, meaning many passengers need to stand.

“Providing more frequent service would ensure these routes, which are long and involve travelling on roads with many curves, are safe and comfortable for passengers,” the report states.

The report estimates that adding three round-trips to the Connector route in a day would cost an additional $225,000 a year, with the local government sharing $82,000 of that.

An extra bus would also be required.

Upping the round-trips by three would allow for two more trips to the airport during the day. As it is now, a bus is scheduled to leave the airport only once, at 4:18 p.m.

More frequent stops at the airport was just one idea. Another would be to stop airport service entirely and have all trips serve the Jack Pine community. The report said that plan would be cost neutral.

While plans for more Connector runs is a long-term goal, a more short-term suggestion was to add about 10 minutes to each one-way trip on the Connector from Kitimat to Terrace.

That suggestion, the report says, will help keep the trip on time throughout the year and will also prevent delays on other bus routes that rely on connections with the Connector.

With suggestions in the report to restructure routes within Terrace, it was recommended that changes to the Connector schedule coincide with changes in Terrace.

More weekend service is another area that Skeena transit could change, but the recommendation didn’t specify the Connector. BC Transit’s senior regional manager for the North Central zone, Todd Dupuis, said that the Connector was mainly designed to serve people’s medical transportation needs.

“It was created to help connect people to health services,” said Dupuis. “Therefore the hours of service and Monday-to-Friday nature of the service were designed based on the fact it was servicing health related things.”

The regional district would then have to find ways to pay for increased service, he said.

“As always, the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine has the final say for service levels,” he added, saying BC Transit’s role is to show what can be done, provide cost estimates and show other possible needs with changed services.

The anticipation now is that the regional district will receive the draft report for further public review before it’s finalized after Dec. 31.

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