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Four buses, no waiting Municipality wants Alpine-Emerald input on use of new buses By Chris Woodall Now that the municipality has its one-millionth rider on board for 1997-98, Whistler Transit looks forward to hearing new bus ideas from 4,000 Alpine and Emerald residents. With four new buses coming into Whistler Transit's hands in November, a survey touching on ridership behaviour and ideas to make the system better will go out April 6-8 to all renters and owners living in Whistler's two northernmost neighbourhoods. Staff will deliver the surveys door-to-door. The new buses will probably break the Alpine-Emerald route into two — increasing frequency and therefore ridership as a result — says the municipality’s Linda Manheim, who is supervising the survey. For those unfamiliar with the Alpine-Emerald route, it can take the rider well out of his or her way, depending on the time of day, no matter if the rider lives in Emerald Estates or Alpine Meadows. But the rider also regularly gets her or his $1.50's worth: sweeping vistas of Green Lake with Whistler/Blackcomb in the distance; the thrills and chills of a honking big bus careering through Alpine's steep streets at dead of night after a heavy snow fall; and a grand view of alpen glow as it rouges every mountain peak on the east side of the valley. "The three-page survey will ask questions about travel habits such as where they go most, if the bus stops are close enough to where they live, and what it would take to get people to use the bus more often," Manheim says. Residents are asked to complete the surveys by April 17. Drop them off at municipal hall, mail them in, or simply hand them to your friendly bus driver. "We're doing quite well with the resources we have, but there's always room to seek input from residents so we can offer better service," Manheim says. Whistler Transit is among the top two bus systems in the province, frequently excelling in ridership and bang for the buck. "Having four new buses seems great, but there are so many demands being placed on routes and trying to fulfil the needs of our riders," Manheim says. "We're all trying to work together to come up with the best solutions."

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