The Whistler and Valley Express (WAVE) is kicking off its winter schedule today, Thursday, Nov. 22, almost doubling the number of buses on the roads during peak times.
However, that doesn’t include the Sea to Sky transit service between Squamish and Whistler that is entering its third year.
According to Emma DalSanto, traffic demand management coordinator for the Resort Municipality of Whistler, the winter schedule will have 21 buses in operation during peak times, compared to 11 buses during the summer months. There was a slight boost of service earlier this month with the early addition of the Creekside Express route, mainly to get prospective employees to the Whistler-Blackcomb job fair in Whistler Creek.
With the highest ridership in the province, WAVE has also adjusted scheduling over the years to ensure that buses run as efficiently as possible. This year they have staggered the Alpine-only and Emerald-only routes to be seven minutes apart, rather than leaving at the same time.
“We know that Meadow Park Sports Centre is a primary destination, so this year we’re trying to see if we can stagger the buses by seven minutes instead of 15 minutes to handle that load,” said DalSanto.
The schedule should work better for sports centre users coming from south of the village, as the longest they will have to wait for a connecting bus is seven minutes — assuming there are no delays because of weather or traffic.
The Sea to Sky transit service will operate as it did last year, with the same schedule and pricing. The only change is that users will not be limited by how many monthly passes they can purchase at one time.
This year, for the first time, B.C. Transit will provide 47 per cent of the funding, according to a provincial formula, with the District of Squamish and Resort Municipality of Whistler providing the rest of the funding.
The cost is $4.50 per ride for adults and $3.50 for seniors and youth. Books of 10 can be purchased for $40, and are available at municipal halls in both communities.
Monthly passes, which are valid for Squamish, Sea to Sky and WAVE, are available for $130 from Whistler municipal hall.
In addition, discounted Greyhound commuter tickets are available the first business day of every month. A book of 20 is available for $80.
The schedule is available online at www.busonline.ca , or by picking up a Squamish-Whistler Commuter Rider’s Guide on the bus or at municipal hall.
WAVE will also start to sell six-month and 12-month passes on Thursday. A six-month pass will retail for $255, or $180 for seniors and students. That’s a savings of $45 for most riders. The 12-month pass is $450, a savings of $150, or $315 for students and seniors. The passes are available at Whistler municipal hall.