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BC Transit switching operators for all public transit services in the East Kootenay

BC Transit is consolidating its operations, awarding Trail Transit the contract to provide transit services for the entire East Kootenay region.

The contract includes conventional and custom transit services in Cranbrook, as well as public transit in Kimberley, the Elk Valley, Columbia Valley, and Creston Valley.

Jonathon Dyck, Communications Manager of BC Transit told MyEastKootenayNow.com that as a Crown Corporation, they have a regular procurement process for their operations.

With Trail Transit securing the contract, previous providers like TOK Transit BC Ltd., Olympus Stage Lines, Kimberley Transportation Society, and Arrow Slocan Lakes Community Services will no longer be operating for BC Transit in the East Kootenay.

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“For customers, there won’t be anything that they see directly in terms of changes for this,” said Dyck. “Schedules, routing and fares will not change as a result of this contract award.”

BC Transit only directly operates in Victoria, while all of their other transit services are operated and contracted out to various companies.

“We do have to go through a regular RFP process for our services and so we’ve gone through that process and Trail Transit has been awarded the contract to operate in those regions.”

“Having a sole operator of these services can help by increasing the on-road support for the operators due to the increased size of the system, consolidating maintenance support for the fleet and training activities for all staff, and centralizing dispatch for conventional and custom transit services,” added Dyck.

Trail Transit currently operates in the Boundary Transit System as well as Castlegar and Trail, which are included in the West Kootenay Transit System. By now getting the contract to the East Kootenay, they will effectively operate the majority of public transit services in the Kootenays.

Dyck said their contract is for nine years, valued at $8.2-million for the first three years. The contract can then be extended up to 15 years, depending on positive performance.

He did recognize the transition to a new operator can be a challenge for the companies that did not get the contract. However, Dyck said BC Transit is thankful for the service provided by those groups and companies over the past number of years.

Cranbrook, Kimberley, and communities in the Elk Valley, Columbia Valley, and Creston Valley are all customers of BC Transit and sign either annual or multi-year agreements for public transit service.

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