City council braces for transit reductions

As part of B.C. Transit’s 2015-18 service plan, Vernon has been told that service cuts could be possible.

There are growing concerns that Vernon’s transit system could be pared back.

As part of B.C. Transit’s 2015-18 service plan, the city has been told that service cuts could be possible.

“Do we talk to our MLA and say, ‘We don’t think this is good enough?’” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham Monday.

“It doesn’t make sense. We talk about reducing greenhouse gases and we’re trying to do something about it and our partner doesn’t think it has merit.”

Cunningham also accused the government of sending mixed messages because cuts are possible but B.C. Transit also calls for route changes and service expansion.

“We’re trying to increase transit use and now they are talking about reducing service,” she said.

“I don’t think we should take this laying down. We should make a strong statement.”

One project being considered is the replacement of the city’s buses.

“Our fleet is 20 years old and due to be refreshed next year,” said Kevin Bertles, director of financial services.

According to B.C. Transit figures, provincial transfers for Vernon transit will be $103,862 in 2015/16 while the local government share will be $105,982.

By 2017/18, it’s forecast that the provincial portion will be $104,672 and local government will contribute $116,525.