Quo Vadis? The Free Shuttle Bus and a Transit Survey
BC Transit is asking community members to complete a survey, for a service review they are conducting. They want your input even if you are not a transit user at this time. Tourism Rossland is also asking Rosslanders to complete Transit’s survey, with an eye to emphasizing the value to our community of the Free Shuttle Bus.
But wait! BC Transit does not operate that shuttle — so why would they care? They may not, but Tourism Rossland would like them to know all about how many people use it, by way of their survey. Funding for the Free Shuttle Bus has been provided so far by contributions from local businesses providing half the cost, and Resort Municipality Initiative (RIM) funding providing the other half. For 2013 – 2014, the total cost was $84,000. But the RIM funding is likely to end in 2017, and costs are rising.
The Free Shuttle Bus has been wildly popular in Rossland, and according to a Tourism Rossland report on its 2013-2014 operation it gave over 19,000 rides to and from the ski hill. On average, it gave over 170 rides per day. Its operation corresponds to a significant increase in hotel revenues for Rossland, with 2013 and 2014 both setting records for revenues since recording began in 2006.
Shuttle users were surveyed and asked how important the free shuttle was in their decision about which ski resort to visit; 59% indicated that it was “critical” for their decision to come to Rossland. 97% said they thought that continuing the shuttle should be a priority in coming years.
When asked whether they would continue to use the shuttle if it cost $2 per ride instead of being free, 59% said no, they would not; only 41% were willing to pay.
Other benefits that correspond to the free shuttle bus operation include a larger number of tours coming to Rossland; the shuttle service is important to them. Fewer people using their cars to and from the ski hill means a carbon reduction of over 28 tons for one season, in line with the aims of Rossland’s Strategic Sustainability Plan goals and the City’s Climate Action Plan goals. And the RCMP’s drunk driving statistics for Rossland show that fewer impaired drivers were charged; the numbers fell from 8 impaired driving charges pre-shuttle bus (in 2011) to 1 impaired driving charge in 2013 and 1 in 2014. That means less danger on our roads.
Would BC Transit provide a free shuttle bus? Not even remotely likely; but would better bus service to the ski hill provide similar benefits, if we can’t have a “free” service paid for by local businesses and RMI funding?
Let BC Transit know your answers to their survey by clicking this link, by November 30, and if you answer every question you’ll be entered into a draw for a $100 gift card for Ferraro Foods. Who knows what the future may bring? — but we can do our best to influence it.