Chilliwack residents are one step closer towards a public bus to Abbotsford and beyond.
City council had granted approval in principal for the Fraser Valley Express in August, but on Tuesday elected officials adopted a bylaw needed before the provincial government can approve the plan.
"This is something our constituents have been asking for for a very long time," Mayor Sharon Gaetz said.
"This has been a long time getting here," Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) chief administrative officer Paul Gipps said. "And this is something we are very excited about at the FVRD."
The FVRD passed a bylaw of its own to approve the service at a meeting in September.
Gipps was at council Tuesday alongside BC Transit representative Johann Van Shchaik to talk about the new service, which won't be in operation until fall 2014 at the earliest.
The service envisaged will see buses running every 60 to 90 minutes in peak periods between Chilliwack and Abbotsford. Service from there would continue on to the Carvolth Exchange in Langley with connections to Metro Vancouver.
Early estimates suggest 12,000 annual hours, which means six buses providing approximately 137,000 annual rides.
The gross cost for the service is estimated at $922,000, according to Van Schaik. This dollar figure is to be split 36.2 per cent to Chilliwack and 63.8 per cent Abbotsford, and does not include revenues, which will offset the cost but are highly unpredictable.
Van Schaik gave examples of similar services in other jurisdictions to compare: A Cowichan Valley commuter bus costs $968,100, has annual ridership of 81,100, average fares of $5.32 and a cost recovery of 45 per cent.
FIRST on comThat's about as good as it gets.
At the other end of the spectrum is the North Okanagan commuter that costs $609,400, has ridership of 9,720, average fares of $1.16 leading to a 19 per cent cost recovery.
Council unanimously approved the bylaw. Next the bylaw will be sent to the province then back to the FVRD board for final approval.
Details such as where exactly the bus would stop in Chilliwack and what fares would be are yet to be determined.
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