A significant 12-per cent growth in Terrace bus ridership is prompting an overall review of the system by BC Transit.
According to BC Transit regional manager Rob Ringma, the city saw 153,915 people take the bus from 2017-2018, a significant jump from 137,932 recorded the year before. Ridership has also increased by around nine per cent halfway through this fiscal year — from 63,858 in 2017 to 69,212 year-to-date.
“We’re seeing some really positive growth over the last year and a half in Terrace, and I think that’s indicative of a healthy transit system that’s being well utilized,” Ringma says.
Though ridership numbers in Terrace have been fairly flat historically, this recent growth has prompted BC Transit to take a closer look scheduling. Ringma says the transit system has started a formal review of the current service for the first time since 2012, and has started gathering input from community stakeholders and the City of Terrace to get a better look at what needs to change.
“But clearly when you see growth, you need to be thinking about where that growth is coming from and how do we plan for the future,” he says.
Ringma pointed to the Ministry of Transportation’s BC Transit operated bus service along Hwy 16 as a possible source, because it gave transit users from outside communities more opportunity to access services in Terrace.
The rapid increase in international student enrollment at Coast Mountain College is also thought to have had an impact on ridership numbers.
“This year [CMTN] saw a big bump, and in that conversation, they actually expressed to us that it’s going to continue to rise in the years forward,” he says.
“That’s the kind of information we take seriously, and we definitely want to make sure that we’re looking at the current service and seeing what changes we can implement to better serve that population.”
And with the Terrace area expected to grow with LNG Canada, additional and more frequent bus routes could be a possibility.
“If there was a new residential area in Terrace that springs up or a camp, if we don’t service that area, then that needs to be put on the table as an option,” Rigma says.
The process is comprehensive and will take approximately 12 months to complete before a final plan is submitted to the City of Terrace for approval.