The value of Selkirk Transit can be verified in increased ridership year after year, but a brand new bus that began picking up passengers at city stops last week really toots the horn of the five-year-old Transit Authority’s success.
The 30-foot Vicinity shuttle bus is only slightly longer than the city’s previous three buses, but with a flat front and sleek design, it appears much larger. Selkirk Mayor Larry Johannson said the new bus is impressive and shows how far the service has come in a short time.
“I’m blown away, this is the first time I’ve seen the bus. All I can say is ‘Wow’. It’s a gorgeous bus,” Johannson said.
“I can remember being on the committee way back when, when transit was in its infancy and of course, our CAO Mr. Nicol was on council then too and he was the proponent behind Transit. We all had the vision but he had the biggest vision and I for one followed him in it. Today, coming in here to our garage and seeing this brand new bus is fantastic. It’s the next step. I always knew we’d get to this level, but I gotta admit, it’s even ahead of schedule.”
The bus, which cost $361,000 and was paid for with the city’s transit capital reserve fund and matching grant money from the province, has an 800,000 km/12-year lifespan and, like the three existing buses in the city’s fleet, is fully accessible, has a kneeling feature for those with mobility issues as well as an access ramp. It can accommodate 27 seated riders. The bus was purchased from British Columbia’s Grand West Transportation.
Selkirk’s transit system is in line with the city’s strategic plan that calls for the smooth operation of transportation systems and promotes environmental stewardship.
CAO Duane Nicol said the new bus will allow one of the three already existing buses to be used as a floater bus between the city’s transit and Selkirk Mobility services. The remaining three buses will be rotated in and out of service throughout the day, to manage wear and tear on the vehicles, and to allow equal opportunity to those who advertise on the buses.
“It’s evolution of the service. It’s a higher quality vehicle and it’s going to be a much smoother ride for our riders. It looks really great in the community,” Nicol said.
“It’s clear that transit’s being used in Selkirk and people are appreciating it. It’s adding a quality of service to the citizens, to the people who ride, and it’s just the natural evolution of the service. It’s exciting to see the system growing and doing what it’s intended to do.”
The city keeps daily numbers of transit riders and in its inaugural year in 2011 there were 13,502 riders. Those numbers jumped the following year to 20,054 and continued to increase, levelling off at almost 31,000 riders in years 4 and 5.
Charlene Dunning, manager of transportation services for the Selkirk Transit Authority, said the 10 staff in the program work diligently to ensure bus service is the best it can be for its riders. The buses run daily routes, but provide game-day service to Winnipeg Jets and Bomber games and are available for private charters.
“The drivers are really excited about the new bus,” Dunning said.
“It demonstrates clearly the success of Selkirk Transit, and the ridership numbers back that up. Our staff work very hard to provide a reliable service for the people of the city and we’re excited that Transit is growing with the city.”
For more information contact:
Manager Transportation Services
Selkirk Transit Authority