Banff and Canmore get $1M transit boost as car congestion grows
Province to fund 10 new bus shelters and refurbish 5 buses that run in and around mountain towns
Public transit in Banff and Canmore is getting a nearly million-dollar boost from the provincial government as the mountain communities struggle under an influx of automobiles.
The province announced Tuesday that $666,000 will go toward the installation of 10 bus shelters and other improvements along Banff's local transit routes and the regional route that runs between Banff and Canmore.
Another $267,000 will be used to refurbish five buses, including three hybrid-electric vehicles that operate within Banff and two biodiesel vehicles that run to Canmore and back.
"Here in Banff, enhanced public transportation is more important than ever, as the area's natural beauty continues to attract an increasing number of visitors from all over the world," said Banff-Cochrane MLA Cam Westhead.
"It's important the Banff region has a robust public transit system."
The funding for localized transit within the mountain communities comes as a new shuttle bus service between Calgary and Banff has proven even more popular than expected.
The On-It bus, run by the Calgary Regional Partnership, launched in June and was originally slated to operate for the summer only but now may be extended, given how strong the ridership numbers have been.
Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen said there is a need to improve mass transit in and around her town — as well as to and from Canmore and Lake Louise — as the number of visitors arriving by automobile continues to grow, leading to serious congestion at times.
"We've seen continued growth from a tourism perspective," she said.
"We are trying to reduce vehicular traffic because we are finding that the number of vehicles that are coming is a challenge."
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