On Wednesday, public transportation history will be made in the West Kootenay area.
A regional committee will be established to bring integration to nine separate operating systems. The committee will develop a single schedule system and regional fare structure. That means a BC Transit customer who boards a bus in Nelson could travel through Castlegar to Trail having only paid once.
The regional committee will help unite service between Nelson, Trail, Castlegar, Kaslo, Nakusp and the Slocan Valley.
For BC Transit riders who have been puzzled by inter-regional schedules that operated out of sync, the committee will piece it all together. A giant puzzle of the region will be unveiled in advance of the first committee meeting as the regions work together as one.
“Congratulations to the West Kootenay local governments and BC Transit for working together to improve service for transit passengers,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Blair Lekstrom. “This is a great example that public transit works best when local voices are part of the solution.”
Nelson city councillor Donna Macdonald welcomed the move.
“The new transit system is a great example of regional cooperation. It will benefit riders, and increase their numbers, by delivering a more efficient and flexible service,” she said. “It’s also a key part of local governments’ commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
Castlegar mayor Lawrence Chernoff said the new approach will bring communities closer together.
“Integrating our transit systems with those of our neighbouring partners will improve the delivery of the transit service and enhance the riders’ experience,” said Chernoff.