The Whistler and Valley Express (WAVE) transit system will celebrate its 10 th anniversary on Dec. 1 with free rides, a visit from crime and child safety dog McGruff, and a birthday cake at Mountain Square beginning at 2 p.m.. All of the WAVE buses will feature "Happy Birthday" artwork by Myrtle Philip students.
"Cheers to 10 years of highly successful transit," says Whistler Mayor Hugh OReilly. "We invite everyone to participate in the celebration on Saturday, Dec. 1, and wed like to take this opportunity to thank all of our riders for their support and for their valuable input into our many expansions and improvements over the years."
By all standards, Whistlers public transit system is a success story.
"In 10 years weve gone from five buses and 325,000 riders in our first full year of transit, to a total fleet of 24 buses and 2,270,000 riders last year. Transit has been an important part of our strategic planning in the community; it is a major benefit to visitors and has been a major factor in reducing traffic congestion and parking problems in the village," OReillly said.
A total of 19 buses are on the road during the winter season, servicing eight different routes. Ten buses are on duty during summer.
Although the permanent population of Whistler is about 10,000, the population can grow to 40,000 on a winter weekend, or 50,000 on a holiday.
The WAVE has been one of the top performing systems among the 68 municipal transit systems in the province. Along with some of the highest ridership numbers in the province, WAVE also had the highest cost recovery rate at 40.9 per cent the provincial average is 33 per cent. It also had the highest performance rating at 37 rides per hour, compared to the provincial average of 23.9 rides.
The Whistler transit system also has a pioneering bent. It was the first system in the province to test pre-paid transit fare cards, CoinCards, and the new magnetic WAVE cards. It is also the only transit system in the province with its own design.
This year the transit system is partnering with Whistler-Blackcomb to test employee bus passes using existing employee passes.
WAVE has also been an active part of the community, handing out chocolates on Valentines Day, and participates in Earth Day, Clean Air Day, and Bike to Work Week. WAVE is an active member of committees that are putting together both transportation and cycling plans for Whistler.