Valley to Calgary shuttle service to begin
After over a year of consultations and planning the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce is ready to be the bus stop for a new scheduled shuttle service to Calgary.
Starting on Wednesday, August 2 at 9 a.m., Olympus Stage Lines Ltd. will provide safe, licensed, insured and affordable transportation services from the Columbia Valley to Calgary in a wheelchair accessible vehicle, which will accommodate up to 16 passengers.
The service will initially operate two days a week every other week as follows:
- The vehicle will pick up passengers at the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce in Invermere and proceed to Canmore where after a short break it will continue to North Hill Centre in Calgary.
The North Hill Centre destination was chosen for several reasons:
It is easily accessible and adequate parking is available.
This location allows passengers to wait comfortably and safely indoors while awaiting pick up and further connections.
The rear number five entrance is almost directly across from the Lions Park C Train to allow for easy connections.
There are many transit bus routes which leave from North Hill Centre. (Calgary Transit guides will be made available to passengers).
It is near Foothills Hospital and Professional Centre as well as numerous other clinics. Tickets will be sold via an online reservation system at www.cvtransit.ca. Passengers in need of assistance with the online reservation system may contact staff at the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce during regular business hours. If there is room last minute passengers will be permitted to buy a ticket from either the driver in Calgary or at the CVCC office.
This service is intended to meet the needs of a thriving community.
Some of the key economic benefits to this new community service are as follows:
- Residents will be able to travel to and from the community – we will make it easy for residents to stay when it is easy for them to come and go.
Seasonal workforce can reach the community easily – local employers can utilize the service. Accessibility to a larger centre will help prospective employees choose a Columbia Valley employer.
Tourists and visitors will have an option to travel to the Columbia Valley other than renting a car.
Three significant community reports indicated that transportation is an important economic issue for the Columbia Valley:
CV Community Priorities Plan
“This service hasn’t been created in a vacuum it started with one woman, who brought the issue to life for those of us who don’t have transportation issues; Maria Kloos advocated tirelessly for her friends and peers in the community and she inspired me to help find a solution for a problem that was impacting the lives of senior citizens in our community,” stated Susan Clovechok, Executive Director, CVCC. “Maria, made sure that our boardroom was full of stakeholders for each meeting. We had meaningful discussions about potential solutions and now finally after 15 months of planning we have a solution.”
Part of the challenge was to find a business that wished to build this service into its business model and then to help that business build the financial and service capacity to start this new transit service which is essentially a scheduled shuttle service. Because we engaged with a for profit business much of the community development funding options were not available to us except for CFEK who has a program to support economic development initiatives, Clovechok explained, adding, For the balance of the shortfall the CVCC created a marketing partnership program for local businesses the opportunity to advertise on and in the bus. The first marketing partner is Invermere Health Care Auxiliary Society who committed $5,000 for a five-year agreement; they will be advertising the Thrift Store on the outside of the bus and recently both Copper Point Resort and Columbia River Paddle have made two-year commitments.
The CVCC and Olympus Stage Lines would like to thank Community Futures East Kootenay for their $5,000 contribution.
“Community Futures East Kootenay is proud to support the chamber’s initiative, creating a safe, reliable and affordable transportation option for valley residents facing health, mobility or transportation challenges. This community development project will result in greater access to Calgary and to health care for our valley residents. The initiative has the potential to make the valley more appealing to new residents as well. CFEK’s commitment to fostering strong, resilient communities is definitely reflected in the chamber’s work on addressing accessibility and transportation in the Columbia Valley,” said Sarah Bennett – Director, Community Futures East Kootenay.
Keri Sanderman, CFEK Investment Fund Manager explained, “Each year CFEK reinvests some of the interest earned by our small-business loans program back into our communities. It’s great to see how our success working with entrepreneurs enables CFEK to support community projects that tackle challenging issues such as this.”
As ridership grows Olympus Stage Lines hopes to increase the trip to weekly, and eventually daily.
Sonya Smith, owner of Olympus Stage Lines, acknowledges that daily service would be ideal, but in consultation with the stake holders it was agreed that starting off with two days a week, every other week was a good start.
“We want to make sure that this service is successful, and understand that starting small is important. Our long-term vision is to offer daily service, but we recognize this will only be possible if the ridership is there to make the service economically viable,” she said.
Passengers wishing to make a reservation can buy their tickets online at www.cvtransit.ca or by calling the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce at 250-342-2844.
|Starting on August 2||Depart Columbia Valley||Arrive North Hill Centre Calgary||Depart North Hill Centre Calgary||Arrive Columbia Valley|
|Wednesday, August 2||9:00 am||12:45 pm||3:45 pm||7:30 pm|
|Thursday, August 3||9:00 am||12:45 pm||3:45 pm||7:30 pm|
|Wednesday, August 16||9:00 am||12:45 pm||3:45 pm||7:30 pm|
|Thursday, August 17||9:00 am||12:45 pm||3:45 pm||7:30 pm|
|Schedule continues every other week.|
|Disclaimer: The operating company reserves the right to alter the schedule as required, refuse or cancel service at their discretion. The operating company may substitute vehicles as necessary. The operating company is not responsible/liable for lost, stolen or damaged articles, late or interrupted service. The schedule is subject to change without notice. Passengers ride at their own risk.|
Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce