Wondering what happened to the transit expansion in Revelstoke that was approved well over a year ago? Now there’s an update, and it’s not good news.
Following a wave of discussion, consultations and public input sessions in early 2011, BC Transit was slated to implement a revised transit system designed to improve commute times in Revelstoke.
The new system was based on a four-route system that would connect at a hub in Grizzly Plaza.
That system was supposed to start in September, 2011 – but there was a hitch. BC Transit didn’t have the new bus needed for the system to work. BC Transit delayed the expansion until September, 2012.
Now, the City of Revelstoke has revealed the four-route system is off the table due to a BC Transit calculation error that vastly underestimated the cost of the new, expanded system.
Now, BC Transit is proposing a scaled-back, three-route system, which will cost city taxpayers even more than the better, four-route system.
The existing system costs the city about $294,000 annually. The city agreed to take on an extra $43,000 in annual costs for the four-route system, for an annual cost to the city of $337,000. (The city pays for 51 per cent of the service; BC Transit kicks in an almost equal 49 per cent share.)
Mason said BC Transit representatives recently approached the city to inform them of the serious calculation error. The added cost should have been $92,000 in extra costs if BC Transit had done its arithmetic correctly, adding up to an annual bill of $386,000 for the city.
In behind-closed-doors discussions with council in early July, the city balked at all the extra costs but agreed to take on an additional $15,000 in costs (on top of the previously-agreed-upon $43,000 in new costs) for a total of about $352,000 annually, based on 2011–12 fiscal year costs.
However, that would mean a reduced level of service.
Mason said the new proposal is to keep proposed routes to the Big Eddy and Columbia Park but eliminate an Arrow Heights route and tweak the Queen Victoria Hospital route to compensate for the lost route.
The changes will be subject to input at public open houses, to be announced soon.
BC Transit spokesperson Meribeth Burton acknowledged the error was on the transit provider’s part. “It’s unfortunate that BC Transit had a calculation error,” she told the Times Review. “Unfortunately, this went to public consultation, but we’re grateful that our crack team in the scheduling department noticed the calculation error and we certainly hope it never happens again.”
Burton said BC Transit appreciated the “understanding and patience” of the city and council. “I’m relived that one of the options that was put for before city council was something that local government partners felt that they could accept and move forward on.”