Independent transit review in the works 

RMOW staff to hold talks with locals offering to do review

Yes, the transit system is getting expensive, but what's a man to do about it?

Well, three men - three local transit experts, in fact - have offered to aid the municipality with a third-party transit review to figure out how to manage a more efficient and affordable transit system.

Bill Murray, Scott Pass and Steve Bayly, three people with intimate knowledge and expertise with the Whistler system, have written a letter to the RMOW, offering their assistance independent of the ongoing BC Transit review.

Murray - who was on council when transit was first brought to Whistler, served as first chair of the transit committee and was involved with the transportation advisory group - said a few independent sets of eyes are necessary since BC Transit, as the service provider assessing itself, is unable to see all sides of the issue facing the resort.

"It's like the RCMP investigating the RCMP," he said. "It doesn't do much good when you investigate yourself. We're concerned that the municipality, who has to work with BC Transit, will not ask the difficult questions that need to be asked."

He said there doesn't seem to be any point in getting BC Transit to investigate because it is the one who created the system and the associated costs. A third-party review will allow people to come in from the outside to see why costs have risen so much and what the municipality and BC Transit can do about it.

"All of a sudden, it's in many ways not becoming viable because of the increase in costs," said Murray.

"Either the municipality can't afford (it) or the riders can't afford it, so it's a real concern because the whole idea is getting people out of their cars and using other modes of transit."

Council received the letter at its last meeting,

Said Councillor Ralph Forsyth: "I'm inclined to accept the offer."

Councillor Eckhard Zeidler asked that staff find out exactly what the three men have to offer.

Harry Kim, the RMOW's general manager of environmental services, told Pique on Thursday that staff will soon be in discussions with Murray, Pass and Bailey, and will then report back to council with what they have to offer on Jan. 26.

"I think it's good the community and these individuals are taking a keen interest and doing a service review and we encourage that from a community input point of view," Kim said. "Whether there's a conflict with one or more of these individuals I can't comment on that right now."

He said that the municipality is "willing to work with anybody" as long as the offers are "in the right context."

Pass said their plans are still very preliminary and they don't yet have a timeline for when their review will be underway or completed. All they know is they are committed to helping the municipality manage an effective and affordable transportation system.

"Transit is a critical part of the success for Whistler and we want to make sure that it continues on as a successful system, but also in a fiscally responsible manner," he said.



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