City budget predicts transit deficits

Bus service will put the city more than $1 million into the red next year, according to 2007 budget projections.

Bus service will put the city more than $1 million into the red next year, according to 2007 budget projections.

The city expects to spend $2,281,100 on transit services and collect $1,202,000 in revenue from these services.

This leaves a $1,079,100 transit-services deficit.

The city has postponed any possible city improvement to service until 2008.

It is starting the initiative by looking at suggestions made years ago.

These included changing the transit hub to a multi-transfer-point system, improving wait times and implementing a commuter loop that would regularly travel from the front door of the Canada Games Centre to the Yukon Arts Centre and Yukon College, and down to the Yukon government building.

The Transit Strategic Plan will be created in 2008 to the tune of $50,000 through recommendations by the Transit Task Force.

“(The plan) will provide improved standards along with options to address the long- and short-term needs of the community. The plan will also include a marketing component to ensure the public are well aware of what changes will be forthcoming,” said mayor Bev Buckway during her budget address Monday night in council.

Immediate changes to transit services include a Canada Winter Games enhanced bus service with express routes to and from the Canada Games Centre during the 2007 Canada Winter Games, February 23 to March 10.

The city will spend $80,000 for this express service, which will include four new buses that can accommodate people with disabilities.

The cost of this new transit service is expected to be offset by $20,000 to $30,000 in ticket sales during the Games.

“Our regular users will only be positively affected by this, as the regular system will continue to operate,” said Buckway in her address.

Other city transit spending includes $9,000 for shoulder-season bus cleaning and $18,500 to offer service during Rendezvous and on Remembrance Day and Canada Day.

Whitehorse will be testing the Canada Winter Games express route bus loops from December 18 to December 22.

“We are offering five express routes and are shooting for a 30-minute service,” said transit manager Dave Muir.

The Christmas express service runs weekdays from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and all day Saturday.

All trips begin and end at the Canada Games Centre.

Express routes include Riverdale, Hillcrest, Porter Creek, McIntyre, Crestview, Takhini and downtown.

Temporary schedules can be viewed at www.whitehorse.ca, or can be picked up at city hall, the Municipal Services building and the Sport Yukon building as well as on all the buses.