City rolls out transit overhaul

Whitehorse has plans to revamp its transit service. Express routes, more frequent buses and improved connections between major city landmarks are some of the changes proposed by transit manager Dave Muir.

Whitehorse has plans to revamp its transit service.

Express routes, more frequent buses and improved connections between major city landmarks are some of the changes proposed by transit manager Dave Muir.

Over the past year and half, the city has handed out surveys and held meetings to collect feedback from transit users, said Muir.

Now those suggestions have been compiled and are being presented to the public for input.

Among the major changes the city wants to create are transit schedules based on one-hour loops. Within those loops two different communities would be serviced, said Muir.

“You’d be able to go from one end of town to the other without transferring,” he said, explaining that someone could jump on a bus in Hillcrest and go all the way to Riverdale in one trip.

“It’s something we’ve heard from lots of citizens.”

Buses that follow a regular scheduled route – such as buses that run every 30 minutes – is another suggestion. So too, are the addition of express buses and more routes servicing the Yukon College.

However, there are some service changes that noticeably won’t be happening.

That includes extended night service, particularly for Yukon College students who take evening classes.

“Probably not all of these changes will be to everybody’s expectations,” said Muir.

“It’s just not possible for us to be running buses until 11 p.m.”

That’s something the city will be working towards in the future, he said.

First, the city needs to make the bus more user-friendly to lure more drivers onto buses and increase ridership.

“The main reason people don’t take the bus now, we’ve heard, is scheduling.”

How the improved service will be paid for is still up in the air.

Fare increases aren’t on the table at this point, said Muir.

At upcoming public meetings people will be asked whether the city or transit users should be shouldering the costs.

Five public meetings are scheduled between April 8 and May 5. For a list of times and locations, go to the city website.

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