New 'simplified' transit route network coming to Whitehorse July 1

·3 min read
A Whitehorse city transit bus downtown. The city unveiled a new transit route network that will come into effect July 1. (Paul Tukker/CBC - image credit)
A Whitehorse city transit bus downtown. The city unveiled a new transit route network that will come into effect July 1. (Paul Tukker/CBC - image credit)

The City of Whitehorse is replacing regular bus service with an on-request service in three neighbourhoods, adding two new transit transfer hubs, and increasing service at peak times.

It's all part of a new transit route network that will come into effect July 1.

"We've simplified [the network]," said Jason Bradshaw, the city's transit services manager, on CBC's Yukon Morning Thursday.

"A lot of the routes will be very, very similar to what you see now but what we've done is sort of change, maybe, the alignment of it."

Two new transfer hubs — at the Canada Games Centre (CGC) and at Yukon University — will be introduced to go with the one at city hall.

Bradshaw said riders will be able to transfer to other routes at those locations.

He added the new routes will be accessible on the city's transit app, beginning July 1.

On-request service for Lobird, Raven's Ridge and Copper King

Three neighbourhoods will have their regular bus service replaced by a new on-request service.

To take the bus in those neighbourhoods, riders will have to call or email Whitehorse Transit and make an appointment.

"Once we pick them up, we take them straight to CGC where they can transfer ... to get to their final destination," said Bradshaw.

He added riders in those neighbourhoods will be able to make reservations for several rides, instead of calling every time.

The change is being made in part because of very low ridership in those three neighbourhoods, said Bradshaw.

"With Raven's Ridge and Copper King, we only have a handful per month of rides from those areas," said Bradshaw. "Lobird is in a similar situation, but they're also very far outside of what our core transit services will be."

He added the city will monitor how service is delivered in those neighbourhoods for the next three to six months and make adjustments if required.

"If there's higher demand at certain times, we'll provide more services," he said.

Increased service at peak times

Bradshaw said "just about every area" will see an increase in travel frequency during peak times.

He gave Whistle Bend as an example, saying there will be three buses per hour with two types of service in the neighbourhood.

One bus will go directly to the CGC and the other will go downtown.

Bradshaw added there will be about 20 new transit stops installed.

"Overall, everyone should see an increase in their transit services," said Bradshaw.

Free transit increased ridership

The city made transit free for riders on May 17 until at least July 1, to encourage residents to take the bus downtown following the closure of Robert Service Way after a landslide placed debris on the road.

The road is expected to reopen in mid-June.

Bradshaw said ridership on transit has increased by about 18 per cent since then, and 28 per cent compared to the same time last year.

He said no decision has been made on whether transit will continue to be free after July 1.

Last March, the city introduced Sunday and holiday bus service.

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