Calgary Connector full steam ahead for full transportation

Invermere to Calgary bus route being used by locals and visitors to the Valley

As of Wednesday, August 2nd, residents and visitors of the Columbia Valley have been connected to Calgary through a new transportation service. Columbia Valley Transit, a bi-weekly bus service, shuttles riders to and from Calgary. Since its inception, all but one trip has had passengers utilizing the service.

Within the first few weeks of operation the transportation service has made a few adjustments to accommodate unaccompanied minors.

“We had to develop an ‘unaccompanied minors’ policy and process. We crafted the “rules” by using other transportation service policies as a template and adapted it for our service,” said Susan Clovechok executive director of the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The new policy states children under the age of eight must be accompanied by someone age 15 or older. Children between eight and 14 may travel on the transit service if the minor has an unaccompanied child form filled out for each direction of travel (to and from). The child must be met at the destination by the person specified on the unaccompanied child form and present ID to the bus driver.

Currently, the service has been running every other Wednesday or every other Thursday. While they’ve received feedback to change the schedule, no plans to do so have been made.

“We have had enquiries about changing the schedule to accommodate tourists. However, the service has been designed specifically for locals who need to travel into Calgary for appointments – eventually we hope that we’ll be able to expand the service so that it works for every type of traveller. This is a big undertaking and somewhat of a business risk but if we can garner the ridership it will become a great community asset,” said Mrs. Clovechok.

The Columbia Valley Transit service receives no government funding so ridership and paid advertising on the bus are key to keeping the service operational.

“As expected we have had to subsidize each trip so far. Ridership is key to the success of this program. Without an average of six passengers per trip, we will not be able to continue the service much past February, 2018. This service receives no government funding or subsidy so we are using the revenues from the advertisers to subsidize the service. We did receive a grant of $5,000 from Community Futures East Kootenay as their board recognized the positive economic impact that the service could have on the community,” said Mrs. Clovechok.

The transit service has had eight successful trips to and from Calgary with their regular driver Ryan ensuring each passenger gets to their destination safely and comfortably. The service departs from the Columbia Valley at 9:00 a.m. arriving at North Hill Centre in Calgary at 12:45 p.m.. The shuttle will then depart again from Calgary at 3:45 p.m., arriving at the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce at 7 p.m. Tickets for the transit service as well as further information on unaccompanied minors regulations are available at https://cvtransit.ca/tickets.

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