The City of Whitehorse will receive a one-time $754,000 influx from the federal and territorial governments aimed at helping offset the impact COVID-19 has had on transit.
The two levels of government will split the contribution 50/50.
In a statement, the city noted the global pandemic has meant lower ridership and lost revenues for its bus system.
In the early months of the pandemic, the city suspended transit fares and parking meter fines for a time, resulting in lost revenue for the system in addition to the lost revenue that comes when fewer people take the bus.
Over the last two years, despite the reduced ridership and revenues, efforts have been made to invest in the service, the city said in a statement. Sunday and holiday service has been added (with the exceptions that there is no service Christmas and New Year’s day), app services that allow riders to track buses and pay for fares with their phones, and some route improvements, the city said in a statement.
That work is continuing with Whitehorse city council recently giving administration the go-ahead to work out the details on a potential modernized transit route and schedule, after initially opting not to move forward with a new system envisioned that would have come into effect earlier this year.
Those plans were met with significant negative public response as some areas of the city would have lost service. Council instructed administration to rework the plan, which it will now work out the scheduling details on.
The service proposed would not see any areas cut, and a number of key spots around the city would see more bus service.
It’s expected there will be a public input process on the potential modernized service later in the new year after more details are worked out.
Mayor Laura Cabott noted her thanks to the federal and territorial governments for the funding.
“We also know that a modern transit system reduces our impact on the environment, connects our communities, and helps us grow an accessible city for all,” she said. “These funds will go a long way in ensuring we can continue this important work.”
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