It will soon be possible to catch a bus from Hope to Agassiz on a Sunday, or from Mission to Harrison Hot Springs on a weekday.
BC Transit and the Fraser Valley Regional District are visiting councils this spring, discussing near and future goals for the smaller transit routes in the eastern Fraser Valley.
Their top priority right now is to restore ridership to pre-pandemic levels in Chilliwack and the FVRD’s ‘paratransit’ systems of Agassiz-Harrison and Hope.
That includes some short-term goals that will have regular transit users rejoicing, and could also entice new riders to the system.
Hope and Agassiz-Harrison routes already do better than their “peers” in similarly sized communities such as Columbia Valley or Hazelton, and BC Transit aims to grow the lines by one per cent each year.
One priority is introducing Sunday and statutory holiday service for Agassiz-Harrison, adding 600 new transit hours and one bus. That could happen in the next one to three years, based on a joint presentation from BC Transit and the FVRD.
As for medium-term priorities, they are planning to extend weeknight services in Agassiz-Harrison within three to five years. They also have a goal to improve service in Hope during that time, by adding another bus and improving their on-time averages.
Currently, the Agassiz-Harrison and Hope systems account for about 60,000 annual rides. However, in Agassiz-Harrison, buses are only on time 27 per cent of the time, are late 19 per cent of the time, and very late 46 per cent of the time.
In Hope buses are on time 34 per cent of the time, late 19 per cent, and very later 28 per cent. BC Transit also tracks buses that are early and very early.
One of the most exciting priorities on the list may be an entirely new route that would travel from Mission to Agassiz along Highway 7. That is earmarked for three to five years from now.
The presentation also looks at long-term priorities for the valley. Those include bumping up to hourly service in the daytime in Agassiz-Harrison, and better service on the weekends in Hope, including Sunday buses and later Friday and Saturday service.
The plan also highlights changes that will be implemented for the seasonal Cultus Lake line.
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