Public transportation history will be made in the West Kootenay area with the first meeting of a regional committee intended to bring integration to nine separate operating systems, including the one serving Greater Trail.
Over the course of the next few months, the committee will develop a single schedule system and regional fare structure, creating a unified regional system whereby a person who boards a bus in Trail could travel through Castlegar to Nelson having only paid once.
”The review is to try and cut back on inefficiencies,” said RDCK representative Karen Hamling. “There are several routes where pickup could be arranged so that the buses are not doubling back.”
The confusion and duplication inherent in the current system for bus riders traveling between communities will be dissolved in the fall when the changes take place, said Meribeth Burton, B.C. Transit corporate spokesperson.
The regional committee will help unite service between Nelson, Trail, Castlegar, Kaslo, Nakusp and the Slocan Valley, creating the venue for transit service providers to share common problems and come up with solutions, make sure systems are all interconnected, easy to navigate and combine resources.
Burton said B.C. Transit went to local governments last year and made the pitch for regional transit.
All municipal councils and regional district directors signed on, said Burton, and everyone “put their own agendas aside for benefit of the riders of the region.”
Seamless regional transit should be in place for peak usage season beginning in September.