Whistler's 10 Valley Express to continue 

BC Transit presents implementation review to Whistler council

click to enlarge PHOTO BY BRANDON BARRETT - IN TRANSIT: The 10 Valley Express will continue into 2020 after the pilot-project route proved successful this winter.
  • Photo by Brandon Barrett
  • IN TRANSIT: The 10 Valley Express will continue into 2020 after the pilot-project route proved successful this winter.

with several happy customers and ridership targets met, Whistler's 10 Valley Express will continue into 2020.

The pilot-project route was introduced in December as a commuter-oriented service for people north and south of the village.

A review of its implementation by BC Transit recommended the service continue.

"Essentially, we want to continue the 10 Valley Express in winter 2019 as well as spring, summer, fall 2020," said BC Transit's Bronson Bullivant in a presentation to council, adding that new highway bus stops and improved amenities, specifically regarding access to the village, are also being considered.

"Improved amenities is pretty key," Bullivant said.

"A lot of people in the engagement survey stated that they wanted to see some lighting and shelters and pads at some of the key stops that people got off at at Whistler Village."

BC Transit used passenger counters to collect data on the route over the winter, then analyzed the data to determine average ridership per trip by day of the week, time of day (both north and south) and by month, as well as the number of people getting on and off at each stop.

The data was then compared to the 11 other routes operating in Whistler.

The results showed that the 10 Valley Express' 17.9 trips per service hour met the performance target for new routes (between 15 and 25 trips per service hour), but was much lower than other routes, which range from 35.9 to 157.7 rides per service hour.

"That being said, it does take time for a service to kind of hit full stride—it takes a minimum of three years for a new transit service to become fully established—so we still have time for this to get to that point," Bullivant said.

A survey that garnered 231 responses found that most people used it to get to work (65 per cent) and/or social or recreational trips (47 per cent).

Survey respondents were very happy with the service, but requested more frequency (especially mid-day), improvements to bus stops on the highway (and more of them), and better access to Whistler Village.

On April 11, the post-implementation report was reviewed by Whistler's Transportation Management Advisory Committee, which supports its recommendations, said transportation demand management coordinator Emma DalSanto.

"The key thing here is that when we were providing the route No. 10, it was being provided with additional service hours, so we weren't taking away any of the base service that we had been working on improving over the last five years," DalSanto said.

"So we were to the point where we could try to attract new markets while not taking away from existing markets, and that's extremely important."

The Whistler Transit System has been expanding in recent years, with 1,750 service hours and one new bus added in 2017-18 and 6,500 more hours and three new buses in 2018-19 (one third of the hours were used to improve service in the spring, summer and fall; the remainder will go towards winter service, including more hours for the 10 Valley Express).

Another 2,500 hours will be added in 2019-20—most of which will go to the 10 Valley Express—at a cost to the RMOW of about $108,000 (offset by about $63,000 in revenue from fares).

During the winter 2019 period (between Dec. 15 and March 30), the Whistler Transit system's 12 routes provided about 600 trips and 13,000 passenger boardings a day.

To view Whistler's Transit's full schedule, visit bctransit.com/whistler.

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