The Revelstoke Resort Shuttle will continue on its Victoria Road route this season, after lobbying by stakeholders averted a switch to a safer Third Street route as recommended by senior City of Revelstoke staff.
The route change was recommended by the city’s engineering and public works department at a Sept. 26 meeting, and stakeholder engagement was planned to look into a route change.
Since then, city officials heard from business owners who wanted the route to continue on Victoria Road because the bus rider trade is important to them. Alpine Village Mall manager Merv Krywa said the morning crowds that ride the busses are important customers for the businesses in the mall, as well as others along Victoria Road.
To deal with safety concerns, new, official bus stops will be placed along Victoria Road. New bus stop signs and procedures will be put in place to try to keep bus riders from lining up on the sidewalk too close to passing traffic. “We would have signage telling people to keep back from the curb,” said City of Revelstoke economic development director Alan Mason.
Mason oversees the bus service. He noted a well-utilized bus service improves traffic safety because it takes private vehicles off the road: “I think one of the big safety factors on the bus is the fact that you’re getting probably 10,000 cars off the road in the winter.”
Mason advocated for the continuation of the Victoria Road route, saying it’s the fastest route, which in turn promotes ridership.
Mason said the side streets are just too slow. “It slows it down. People will only take the bus if it gets them up to the hill in a reasonable time.”
He said the busses had travelled on side streets several seasons ago, including a stop in Grizzly Plaza, but despite best intentions, snow removal couldn’t keep up, and the bus was damaged trying to manoeuvre around windrows.
He also said proposed alternate routes had safety downsides, such as slippery hills between Farwell and downtown.
Mason said the new bus stops will cost about $10,000, and the money would come from the tourism infrastructure budget, including cost-sharing with the Revelstoke Accommodation Association.
Mason noted, as far as he knows, the bus and its riders hadn’t had an accident on Victoria Road in six seasons. He added the buses had flashing stop lights and bus stop procedures would be reviewed.
Back at the Sept. 26 planning meeting, the City of Revelstoke’s administration and engineering departments’ views were clear: the city could face legal exposure if someone was injured.
City engineering director Mike Thomas said the new, defined bus stops, new training procedures for drivers and perhaps new flashing lights on the bus, will suffice.
“Ideally, bus stops would be outside of the travelling lanes, either in pull outs or parking lanes; however it is possible to permit these stops through signage defining the exact locations,” Thomas said. “Overall, given limited route options that support the principals of a convenient, fast and frequent service, the continued use of the three stops on Victoria Avenue will be safer than in previous years.”
New third bus
One more new Revelstoke Resort Shuttle bus will be in operation this season, bringing the total to three.
Mason said some changes are planned to improve the service. During peak times, some shuttles will not return all the way to the origin point at the Sandman Inn. Instead, they’ll return downtown to pick up skiers to better managed demand at the mid-point of the route. In addition, in the mornings, some busses will take a direct route back to the starting point, instead of following the slower return route through downtown.