Bigger fleet, more bus service this winter 

As part of a planned expansion, the Whistler and Valley Express is getting a little bigger this winter with the addition of a new bus and expanded service throughout the winter.

According to Scott Pass, the manager for Whistler Transit, the main focus for the expansion has been the Creekside area, where they’ve seen the most growth in ridership in recent years.

"With an additional bus we were able to put 11 and a bit of additional hours on the road in the winter," said Pass. "That enables us to do a lot of different things, and to boost service in some places where we most need it."

On of the first priorities was late night service. Instead of buses every half-hour after midnight, WAVE will be able to offer 15 minute service until approximately 1:30 a.m. and possibly even later.

Another priority was Creekside.

"Right now our service at about 10:30 or 11 in the morning goes from 15 minutes to half hour service. We have the Creekside Express as well, but we’re going to maintain that 15 minute service down to Function Junction for the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock period," said Pass.

Although the current schedule is managing rider numbers from early morning to approximately 10:30 a.m., the half-hour service is frequently full after that point, and sometimes riders are left behind at bus stops. The new schedule will better accommodate people travelling at those times, says Pass.

Where it gets exciting, he says, is the ability to run buses to Creekside every five minutes after 2 p.m. until the early evening.

"What we’re discovering is that there is a lot of traffic at that time of day, after 10 a.m., whether it’s people heading up for a half day of skiing or going to work, so it made sense to expand the service there," said Pass.

The number of buses heading into Spring Creek will also be increased in peak periods, although WAVE hasn’t figured out the exact number of trips.

The winter schedule will kick in on Saturday, Nov. 20, to coincide with the opening of Blackcomb Mountain. In the meantime, WAVE will start to run the Creekside Express two weeks early, starting Nov. 6.

"Everything is ramping up for the winter season at that point, there are jobs fairs, people are in training and getting the mountain open, and we could always see an early opening this year," said Pass.

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