The BC Transit board and senior management held a transit forum this evening at UBCM. Very informative. At the end of the forum, we broke into smaller groups with BC Transit muckymucks and shared some ideas and concerns. There is a lot of demand, it seemed from the discussions, for expanded transit services, even in very rural parts of the province. I shared some of the concerns people in our community have shared with me - hours of service, optimization of scheduling so that buses are more staggered, for example. I also brought up the idea of enhanced creative marketing of transit to people who currently don't use transit, but could benefit from doing so. The only time I see the bus promoted is on the bus itself. We need take transit promotion to the next level. This idea did not seem to take hold in my little group, but its one that I personally think is golden.
BC Transit managers gave mini reports on the current state of the organization. The Chair of the BC Transit board started by outlining 4 common points that British Columbians raise about transit:
- How can we expand transit services?
- How do we fund that expansion?
- What are transit best practices?
- How is transit becoming more environmentally friendly and/or transitioning to alternative fuels.
The Financial VP said:
- it costs, on average, $71.42 per hour to run a transit bus in Kamloops and other similar size communities.
- Future cost challenges include
- fuel contracts
- labour costs
The fleet / technology VP said:
- supply of new buses is dwindling
- Hybrid bus experiment: preliminary results seem to point to hybrid being too expensive.
- biodiesel buses promising
- hydrogen buses promising
The customer service VP said:
- transit planning should support community planning
- Victoria transit service going for 30 - 35% increase in ridership, in part through enhancing overall quality of trips.
- Products include pro-pass, that allows companies to enroll in a payroll deduction program for interested employees to get a discount on transit passes, and developer-pass, through which parking requirements for new developments could be reduced if the developer agrees to pay for transit passes for their new residents.
Of course this wasn't all that was said, but these are the points that stood out and that I recorded.