A new 30-foot Vicinity shuttle bus has rolled into Selkirk, providing transit users another comfy ride around city streets or to various destinations as part of Selkirk Transit Authority’s charter service.
Charlene Dunning, Manager of Transportation Services, said the new bus was purchased from Grande West Transportation; the same company the city purchased its last bus from in 2015.
“Selkirk Transit has grown since we gave our first rides in 2011, and this new bus improves our ability to continue providing the best service we can,” Dunning said.
“Selkirk Transit is also more than a ride company, we provide a much needed community service and we’re committed to building community partnerships and giving back to the community.”
The bus, which cost $437,875, was paid for in part by the city’s Transit Capital Reserve Fund, along with $188,300 from the Government of Canada, and $63,834 from the Government of Manitoba, under the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund.
“I am pleased to celebrate the arrival of this new shuttle bus for Selkirk Transit,” said the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “Our government recognizes that investing in transit infrastructure is key to creating inclusive communities and promoting economic growth. This modern accessible bus will be a great addition to the city’s fleet, helping ensure all residents can get where they need to go safely and comfortably.”
Accessible and comfortable for all
Municipal Relations Minister Jeff Wharton said the province is pleased to support important transportation projects like the purchase of this bus in the City of Selkirk, which will help ensure efficient transportation services are accessible to residents.
“Our government continues to focus on strategic investments in community infrastructure that respond to local priorities,” said Wharton. “Manitoba was proud to partner with the federal government and the City of Selkirk to support the purchase of a new bus so residents can get where they need to go safely and comfortably. Investments in local public transit help to ensure the continued livability and accessibility in Manitoba communities.”
The bus has an 800,000 km/12-year lifespan and, like the other two 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.
Selkirk Mayor Larry Johannson said he’s thrilled with the way citizens have embraced Selkirk Transit.
“It’s not that long ago that transit in Selkirk was just an idea at the council table and now it’s gone from a small service with small buses to what it is today with these new beautiful buses. People are happy to hop on the bus whether it’s because they want to help the environment or they don’t have a car or simply because it’s so convenient,” Johannson said.
“I’m so proud of the people of Selkirk who use the system and proud of our Selkirk Transit staff who do such a good job. It’s fantastic.”
Transit providing a quality service to citizens
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.
Chief Administrative Officer Duane Nicol said the bus purchased in 2015 has performed extremely well and as the city continues to improve its transit service, city staff were pleased that Grande West Transportation put in a competitive bid in response to the city’s request-for-proposals. Nicol said that fleet continuity can help to keep operating and maintenance costs lower.
“It’s a higher quality vehicle and it offers a much smoother ride for our riders. We are improving our fleet and replacing buses as needed. It’s part of our Capital Asset Management Program that allows us to know what we have and what needs to be replaced at the right time,” Nicol said.
“It’s clear that transit is 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 has continued to increase. In 2017, more than 30,000 people rode Selkirk Transit.
Dunning 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 along the city’s 70 stops, and 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.”