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Whistler transit considering express service along highway

Survey open to gauge response to commuter service between Function and Emerald

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Transit users who live north and south of the village will likely love the sounds of a proposed Whistler Transit bus route.

The new route means riders wouldn't have to transfer busses in the village, resulting in faster trip times between Emerald and Function. Named the 10 Valley Express, the route would bypass the village and Creekside with potential stops on Highway 99, allowing the route to avoid congested areas that lengthen trip times.

"The whole idea is to make getting from one end of the valley to the other faster. If the bus route avoids the congested areas, (like the) Whistler Village and Creekside ... that will make the commute faster," said Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden.

"To be able to consider doing it in the fall or this winter is exciting," she said, adding that it's been a route that's been discussed "off and on" over the years.

The potential route is possible through additional service hours added to Whistler's transit system.

"We didn't have extra service hours in years gone by to be able to think about something like this—but now we do," explained Wilhelm-Morden.

"Certainly local residents will benefit from it, and (so will) people who are trying to get to work in Function Junction or Rainbow Plaza."

The RMOW and BC Transit are currently seeking public input on the potential route.

"The transit service has to meet the needs of our customers, so we want to make sure if we're making changes to the transit system it is done with engagement," said Jonathon Dyck, communications manager at BC Transit.

"What were asking is if people like the proposal, how many times they would use the Valley Express, and also what purposes people would use the route for."

The route would feature stops in Rainbow Plaza, Nesters Mall, Whistler Creekside and Function Junction, among others. It will focus on serving commuter destinations outside of Whistler Village at peak times.

Members of the public are invited to offer feedback on the proposed route through an online survey. The survey—which will be open between June 1 and 14—will seek the community's input in identifying key trip times, and collect feedback regarding proposed routing and bus stop locations.

BC Transit did not say when Whistler could expect the Valley Express to be in operation, saying the decision will be made after the data from the survey has been reviewed. The survey can be found at bctransit.com/whistler/survey-outline.

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