Transit concerns Comox Valley Regional District

Concern about costs associated with operation, maintenance and administration of the local transit system will be communicated in writing to the province and BC Transit, the CVRD board decided Tuesday.

Concern about costs associated with operation, maintenance and administration of the local transit system will be communicated in writing to the province and BC Transit, the CVRD board decided Tuesday.

The letter will also request an explanation and information as to how future costs will be kept under control.

Directors also advised staff to review operating agreements between the CVRD and BC Transit to identify efficiencies that will enhance ridership and system revenue.

There were a total of 600,000 bus rides in the Valley in the 2009/10 fiscal year, 100,000 more than the previous year, marking a 17-per-cent increase in ridership throughout a service area extending from Oyster River in the north to the Buckley Bay/Fanny Bay area in the south, according to district staff.

System expansion, promotion and an increased proportion of pre-paid fare products are among the reasons the local transit system has grown steadily since 2004/’05.

• • •

The board supports a position paper from 12 coastal regional district chairs about improvements to the BC coastal ferry service. The paper follows a series of meetings and a review of BC Ferries governance and operations.

The chairs represent 66 per cent of B.C.’s population. The group has concerns about the reliability of ferry service in terms of financial risk and debt burden to taxpayers. It also believes the Coastal Ferry Act needs revising.

The group will meet with Premier Christy Clark and Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom — with whom they have already met — at the Union of BC Municipalities convention next week in Vancouver.

BC Ferries Commissioner Gordon Macatee is scheduled to appear at the Oct. 18 COW meeting.

• • •

The board approved a staff recommendation to direct about $14,000 from Vancouver Island Health Authority grant funds to the Comox Valley housing task force.

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