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Transit ridership increases in Chilliwack

More commuters, more students, more shoppers.

According to BC Transit corporate spokesperson Meribeth Burton, that’s what Chilliwack saw after increasing transit hours last fall.

It’s also exactly what they were hoping for.

“It’s always exciting to see what the uptake will be, but certainly from the very beginning we saw a huge increase in the kind of readership that we were hoping to see,” Burton says.

Chilliwack saw almost a six per cent increase in ridership in the 2013/14 year, up nearly 29,000 riders over the previous year.

Unsurprisingly, Route #1 Vedder saw the biggest improvement, with ridership increasing by more than 15 per cent.

“When the service hours went into place in September we saw an immediate and positive reaction in terms of the growth in the number one route,” Burton says.

“That it continued to hold was what was encouraging for us.”

BC Transit and the City of Chilliwack noticed the Vedder route running at overcapacity last September, which was part of the spark to increase coverage in the first place.

And after seeing ridership rise after responding to demand last fall, BC Transit is proactively increasing Chilliwack’s schedule in September; riders will see both earlier and later transit hours coming to the Evans, Promontory, and Vedder routes.

“If you can make transit efficient and reliable, and deliver the service hours people are looking for, then they will come,” Burton says. “[In this case] we build it and we hope our ridership responds.

As a crown corporation, our goal is to best serve the community and the taxpayers that fund it. So we don’t have a particular number in mind, but our aim is to always grow ridership and to increase the people’s awareness of it.”

BC Transit is also looking to the Fraser Valley Express, which will hit roads in the spring of 2015 and link Chilliwack to Abbotsford and Langley.

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