Campbell River’s transit system brings in more revenue and costs less to run than those in communities of similar size, according to a review of BC Transit.
An August report from the BC Transit independent review panel shows Campbell River to be one of Transit’s top performers – an honour that has prompted an expansion of bus service in the city.
“The system, in comparison to others in the 20,000 to 50,000 (population) size is performing well,” said Drew Hadfield, the city’s transportation manager. “The ridership compared to population is high, the cost per hour to operate is below average, and the service utilization is highest in this group.”
According to the report, which looks at 2010/2011 figures, Campbell River had a ridership of 558,885 while the similar-sized communities of Vernon and Penticton had riderships of 37,600 and 29,200 respectively. In the Comox Valley, ridership sat at 45,700. Hadfield said since those figures were identified, Campbell River has increased its ridership by nine per cent.
Campbell River also had the lowest total operating expenses at $2.12 million while Vernon spent $2.46 million and Penticton $2.37 million. The Comox Valley spent $2.66 million.
The city has also seen increased revenue from public transit, which Hadfield said goes directly to offset the cost for the city’s portion of the system.
Campbell River generated $602,059 in total operating revenues while Vernon brought in $613,564, Penticton $521,152 and the Comox Valley $585,728.
As an indication of Campbell River’s success, BC Transit announced Wednesday that it will be adding evening service on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights as well as providing an extra 30-foot long bus.
“We are inspired by the growing number of people who are choosing transit in Campbell River,” said Manuel Achadinha, BC Transit president and CEO. “By adding service hours and another bus we are ensuring transit is more efficient and effective than ever before.”
According to BC Transit’s Annual Report, the city was one of the province’s top performers and recorded 609,000 trips in 2011/12.
“Growing the use of local bus service is good news that indicates we’re offering routes and times Campbell River residents consider a viable option,” said Mayor Walter Jakeway. “More people taking the bus means that the service is meeting the community’s need. As bus usage grows, the more service will improve.”
Service is currently provided by a local contractor, Watson and Ash, and not only runs throughout the city but also stretches to Area D (Crawford Road-Oyster Bay area) in partnership with the Strathcona Regional District.
A transit connection to the Comox Valley system at Oyster River allows riders to travel as far south as Buckley and the Hornby/Denman Island ferry terminal.