Buses running empty

Need some alone time? Then take a ride on Whitehorse Transit’s downtown loop. You’ll likely encounter less than one other person,…

Need some alone time?

Then take a ride on Whitehorse Transit’s downtown loop.

You’ll likely encounter less than one other person, according to figures released during Monday’s council meeting.

The route is a pilot project to determine whether a permanent route should be installed linking the Canada Games Centre and the downtown core. It began on July 1st.

It costs $190,000 to run the downtown loop for a full year.

Since then, rider numbers have steadily climbed but remain very low.

There were 457 riders in July. That number skyrocketed to 1,442 in August, but this number includes the increased ridership during the Lutheran youth gathering in the middle of the month. The regular amount would have been around 642, said Whitehorse Transit officials.

September saw a small bump in riders, hitting 614.

But a transit official bragging about the success of the downtown loop was stopped in his tracks by councillor Dave Stockdale at Monday’s council meeting.

That’s an average of only 12 rides a day, said Stockdale. That means less than two riders per bus.

The loop adds another nine trips on Friday evening, and Saturday’s schedule includes 31.

The figures were only an update from a larger study being done. A complete report will be released in November.

A lot of people lobbied for the bus route, but sometimes an interest group can be wrong about whether there is a need for a service or not, said Stockdale.

“We heard from seniors and a lot of other groups that it was difficult getting downtown,” said transit manager Dave Muir.

“But it’s lower than expected,” he said.

Transit has put a lot of effort in marketing the loop. Advertisements have been made on radio, television, maps and posters. Transit also held a draw for a bus pass to promote the route.

But the effect so far has been negligible.

Councillors brainstormed on how to increase ridership in council.

Many of the buses that come around Yukon College are empty, said councillor Doug Graham.

“I can see them from my office and there are no students on them.”

A student bus rate might be a good way to increase ridership, he said.

The costs of providing services is high, transit officials told council. The unpopular pilot project is also happening at a time when fuel is expensive.

When transit first held tests to evaluate whether or not there would be an interest in a downtown loop, they were held in December 2006 and the during the 2007 Canada Winter Games.

“We tested it when there were things happening,” said Muir.

Eight riders per ride is an acceptable amount of riders, he said.

Just Posted

Lorraine Kuhn is seen with one of the many volleyball teams she coached. (Photo submitted by Sport Yukon)
The Yukon Sports Hall of Fame inducts the late Lorraine Kuhn

Lorraine Kuhn became the newest member of the Yukon Sports Hall of Fame for her work in growing volleyball amongst other sports

File Photo
A Yukon judge approved dangerous offender status for a man guilty of a string of assaults in 2020.
Yukon judge sentences dangerous offender to indefinite prison term

Herman Peter Thorn, 51, was given the sentence for 2020 assaults, history of violence

Crystal Schick/ Yukon News A former residential school in the Kaska Dena community of Lower Post will be demolished on June 21. Crystal Schick/ Yukon News
Lower Post residential school demolition postponed

On June 21, the old residential school in Lower Post will be demolished and new ground on a multi-cultural centre will be broken

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley announced 29 new COVID-19 cases on June 19 and community transmission among unvaccinated individuals. (Yukon News file)
Yukon logs record-high 29 new COVID-19 cases

F.H. Collins prom attendees and some Porter Creek Grade 9 students are instructed to self-isolate as community transmission sweeps through unvaccinated populations

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before using it on Nov. 24. The Yukon government is reopening the drive-thru option on June 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Drive-up COVID-19 testing opening June 18 in Whitehorse

The drive-up testing will be open from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. everyday and increase testing capacity by 33 spots

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its June 14 meeting

Murray Arsenault sits in the drivers seat of his 1975 Bricklin SV1 in Whitehorse on June 16. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bringing the 1975 Bricklin north

Murray Arsenault remembers his dad’s Bricklin, while now driving his own

A presumptive COVID case was found at Seabridge Gold’s 3 Aces project. (file photo)
Presumptive COVID-19 case reported at mine in southeast Yukon

A rapid antigen rest found a presumptive COVID case on an incoming individual arriving at the 3Aces project

Jonathan Antoine/Cabin Radio
Flooding in Fort Simpson on May 8.
Fort Simpson asked for military help. Two people showed up.

FORT SIMPSON—Residents of a flooded Northwest Territories village expected a helping hand… Continue reading

A woman was rescued from the Pioneer Ridge Trail in Alaska on June 16. (Photo courtesy/AllTrails)
Alaska hiker chased off trail by bears flags down help

ANCHORAGE (AP)—An Alaska hiker who reported needing help following bear encounters on… Continue reading

Two participants cross the finish line at the City of Whitehorse Kids Triathlon on June 12 with Mayor Dan Curtis on hand to present medals. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
2021 Kids’ Triathlon draws 76 young athletes

Youth ages five to 14 swim, run and bike their way to finish line

NDP MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq rises in the House of Commons, in Ottawa on May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Unacceptable’ that Inuk MP felt unsafe in House of Commons, Miller says

OTTAWA—It’s a “sad reflection” on Canada that an Inuk MP feels she’s… Continue reading

Lily Witten performs her Canadian Nationals beam routine on June 14. John Tonin/Yukon News
Three Yukon gymnasts break 20-year Nationals absence

Bianca Berko-Malvasio, Maude Molgat and Lily Witten competed at the Canadian Nationals – the first time in 20 years the Yukon’s been represented at the meet

Most Read