Chilliwack transit users aren't exactly cheering in the streets about recent changes to the system but a survey conducted by the city resulted in a mostly positive response.
When asked if the new four-route system implemented in July 2012 was better or worse than before the change, 40 per cent said better while 31 per cent said worse. Twenty-two per cent said the system was about the same.
Manager of transportation Rod Sanderson presented the results of the survey at city council's meeting Tuesday.
Transit routes were reduced as of July 2 from 10 to four with a focus on increased service on the Yale/Vedder corridor. The move simplified the system and was designed to spur ridership on the all-important spine of the city.
The elimination of some suburban service, however, was criticized before the changes were made, a sentiment echoed in the survey results.
Among respondents who said the new system is worse, 32 per cent said the reason was because the nearest stop was too far away, and 21 per cent said areas were not being served.
Another 18 per cent were critical of the fact that bus routes and stops had moved and 14 per cent said the system was less accessible for seniors and disabled riders.
For those who like the new service, 60 per cent said it was because buses run more frequently and 20 per cent lauded the more efficient service.
As to ridership, 33 per cent said their transit use had increased and 27 per cent said it decreased.
The monthly ridership, however, on the main Vedder line increased by 50 per cent since the changes came into effect. Fewer than 12,000 trips were recorded in July, a number that rose to more than 18,000 in both October and November.
"What we have discovered is that more people like the new routes and use is up a little bit," Sanderson said.
Mayor Sharon Gaetz said the survey process was interesting as many people didn't realize that transit users pay for less than one-third of the costs with the other two-thirds coming from municipal and provincial coffers.
Other statistics from the survey:
? 55 per cent said they were "very interested" in an express service between Abbotsford and Chilliwack;
? 45 per cent said $3 to $4 was fair for an Abby-Chilliwack bus, 36 per cent said $5 to $6 was fair;
? 30 per cent of those surveyed only use the bus one or two days per week;
? 34 per cent said the next improvement should be expanded service hours while 32 per cent said improve service within neighbourhoods to reduce walking distance should be next.
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