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Friday, January 6, 2017

Pincher Creek community busing update

Proposed Pincher Creek bus route (HDR Inc. graphic)

Chris Davis - According to documents in the Town of Pincher Creek's January 4, 2017 Committee of the Whole package, the Town has including the upcoming community busing service in their 2017 budget.  The cost of proposed bus, zones, and shelters has been set at $455,000. GreenTRIP grant funding will cover $303,333 of that amount and the Town will pay the remaining $151,666.


The transit service is not expected to begin until September 2017 at earliest, and the Town has therefore budgeted $53,547 for four months of operating expenses in 2017 less anticipated ridership revenue of $18,35 for a total of $35,197. The ridership fee is proposed at $3.00 and ridership and revenue from that ridership is anticipated to increase as residents become more familiar with the service. The Town anticipates eight riders per revenue hour in 2017, twelve by 2019, and projects 19 riders per revenue hour by 2025. An average passenger's trip is anticipated to be 3.5 kilometres. "The all inclusive operating cost is assumed to be approximately $80.00 per hour,"  which will include fuel, cleaning, vehicle maintenance and operating staff. It is anticipated that an annual operating subsidy of approximately $105,590 will be required.

The service is anticipated to operate on weekdays only, eight hours a day, for a total of 2,008 hours of operation per year.

From the Town's successful Green Transit Initiative Program (GreenTrip) funding application:

"The Town's share of the capital costs to purchase a bus, and establish bus zones and shelters will be sourced from general tax revenue, as well the estimated operating costs and the reserve for bus replacement in the future. Based on an 8 year life span of a bus, the reserve will grow every year in order to finance the replacement at the end of that life span."

The bus, which the Town intends to purchase in 2017, is proposed to be a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fully accessible, low floor 30-foot transit bus with passenger capacity  (of) about 30-plus seated passengers, two wheelchair passengers, and "will conform to Alberta Transportation Recommended Standards"

The plan includes 25 bus zones, five passenger shelters and five benches within the Town of Pincher Creek.  "The total round-trip travel distance of the (proposed) route is 9 km,  which can be achieved within a 30 min round trip travel time based on an average 20 km/h speed.  Approximately, 55% of Pincher Creek's current urban form is within  400m of the bus route option (approximately 4-6 minutes of walking) (see graphic above).  Since the route serves most residential  and major trip attractors, it is expected that most residents in Pincher Creek would be within 400m of the transit route."  The route is intended to serve key areas in Pincher Creek, including the hospital, the downtown business area, shopping centres, and schools.

The Town intends to secure the services of a professional transportation consultant, to gather usage statistics and conduct a readership survey.
From the GreenTRIP funding application:
"Similar to the other small towns in the North America, the Town of Pincher Creek faces a number of challenges in providing accessible, effective transportation between the community and its in-demand destinations. As the population and economy continue to grow and the travel behaviour continues to evolve, so does the demand for alternative transportation options. A starter transit system will provide a new means of access and mobility for residents desiring more transportation choice and those currently unable or unwilling to drive a personal vehicle. The implementation of a starter transit system will result in fewer cars on the roads, and a subsequent decrease in traffic congestion and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions."

Also excerpted from the GreenTrip funding application:
"On average, small Canadian transit systems recover less than one third of their operating costs from passenger revenues. It is estimated that on average each of Pincher Creek's 3,670 residents would make 5 transit trips per year for a total of 18,350 transit trips. At a fare of $3.00 per rider the system would generate $55,050 in revenue per year.  Overall, the proposal transit service in Pincher Creek would require an annual operating subsidy of approximately $105,590."
Partnership with Fort Macleod?

A Regional Transportation Business Plan is being developed jointly by The Town of Pincher Creek and the Town of Fort Macleod.  A 2013 study related to that initiative looked at both towns, with possible transit connections to Calgary and Lethbridge.

Under consideration is "a non-ambulance transfer service for medically stable patients, between healthcare facilities in the Town of Pincher Creek, Town of Fort Macleod, and other major urban centres, such as Lethbridge and Calgary," inter-community transportation between Fort Macleod and Pincher Creek and those urban centres, and "an accessible door-to-door, on-demand transportation option for seniors and people with limited mobility within the Town of Pincher Creek and the Town of Fort Macleod."
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1 comment:

  1. OK if you want to take a jolly trip around the town I suppose, but hardly useful for the many seniors in town. It goes nowhere near Whispering Winds or Crestview, and doesn't go to Walmart or Ranchlands Mall. Brilliant planning, everyone ...

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