Local residents are celebrating the addition of a new Bow Valley Regional bus route that shuttles people from Banff to Canmore and back again.
"I love it," said longtime Banff resident Cheryl Hyde. "I used to drive everyday because I work in Canmore and live in Banff. It's terrific."
Route 3, which just started this week, makes 12 stops between Banff and Canmore and costs $6 for adults one way. Children and seniors pay half that amount. A 10-ride pass costs $50 and monthly passes are available for $80.
Canmore resident Gini Dalgas has done the math.
"You use the bus 24 times in a month, that is costing me $3.33 a trip, and when I carpool with people — and it's an uneven car pool for me — I pay the driver $4," she said.
Koji Miyaji, with Bow Valley Regional Transit, says numbers are small right now, but are expected to grow.
"I think any of the city routes, or any other location, when you launch a new route you know you're going to go through a [trial period]," he said.
Miyaji said the four-bus fleet, two large buses and two smaller ones, include state-of-the-art biodiesel ROAM buses — some that are decorated with wildlife pictures.
While only one bus is on the road at a time, he said the route takes roughly 50 minutes roundtrip and runs weekdays from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and noon to 10 p.m. on the weekend.
It took co-operation between three municpalities to make this new route happen, including Lake Louise, which will be added to the route in the next couple of years.