CITY COUNCIL has decided to accept a draft report on changes to the transit system that include increased access for people with disabilities and health conditions.
An additional six hours of handyDART service on Saturdays will mean better access to medical services such as dialysis, B.C. Transit official Todd Dupuis told council at a committee of the whole meeting April 2.
“Because there is no handyDART service on Saturday but there is conventional bus routing we decided it is important to provide this,” Dupuis said.
The additional service would also give those with disabilities access to the farmers’ market, said city councillor Bruce Bidgood.
Dupuis recommended 2014 to begin the new service, however councillor Brian Downie submitted that the need is too urgent and suggested council see to implementing it this year.
The other councillors seemed in agreement on this point but will hold an official discussion April 8 to finalize the decision.
The second B.C. Transit recommendation concerned routing. Dupuis showed council three revised bus routes designed to make service more direct.
The new routing would include a stop at UNBC on Keith Ave. as well as express service from Northwest Community College on the bench to downtown.
It is possible that buses will no longer service the Halliwell area directly, but now residents in the top east quarter will have direct access to the college.
Getting consumers to and from Walmart and the grocery stores is a priority, said Dupuis.
Dupuis also said that Terrace is currently in the top three municipalities in terms of cost per hour and cost recovery, adding that the changes to routing has nothing to do with budget cuts.
Before a final decision can be made on the new routing option, Dupuis said further public consultation is required.
Dupuis wants to move away from this static open house model to conducting surveys on the buses themselves.
Councillor Tyers agreed that more consultation needs to go into the finalized routing plan, and spoke in support of the handyDART upgrade.