It’s going to cost another 25 cents to ride Whistler’s buses this winter, but service will be increased, with the addition of three new buses.
Transit fares will increase to $1.50 when the new schedules come into effect on Nov. 23. The increase was considered necessary to help finance the additional buses, which bring Whistler Transit’s stable of buses up to nine. Fares have not increased since the transit service was introduced in 1991.
The additional buses were deemed necessary because of concerns about the reliability and frequency of service. The new buses will allow the free village shuttle, between the village and the Benchlands, to run every 10-15 minutes at peak times during the ski season. As well, service to Alpine Meadows will increase from every 30 minutes to every 15 minutes, and service to Whistler Creek and Function Junction will be improved.
Final routing is being determined in the next week. The Blueberry Hill-Tapley’s Farm loop is being considered, and service to Alta Lake Road may also be increased. As well, service to Blackcomb’s staff housing may be added. A fare of less than $1.50 would be charged if this service is added.
The additional buses are expected to increased ridership from 700,000 per year to 800,000 per year. The increased revenue of the additional buses and the fare increase will bring the municipality’s net share of costs down to below $100,000. The municipality’s costs for the most recent year are approximately $130,000.
BC Transit and Whistler Transit Ltd. are the other partners in the bus system. The Whistler Resort Association contributes $150,000 annually to the service, to subsidize the free village shuttle.
Whistler Transit Ltd.’s annual operating agreement has also been extended two years, to Oct. 31, 1997.