Rossland’s free ride bus exceeds all expectations

Tourism Rossland’s data gathering effort on the Free Ride shuttle bus service

  • May. 8, 2014 11:00 a.m.

By Art Harrison

Times Staff

Ski season has been over for almost a month and the results are in for Tourism Rossland’s data gathering effort on the Free Ride shuttle bus service provided in the Golden City over the winter, and the results are even surprising the people who ran the service.

“There were way more passengers than I expected,” said Deanne Steven, executive director of Tourism Rossland.  “It was so many people I couldn’t believe it. It was an overwhelming project for all involved.”

According to the report on the service released by the non-profit organization, over 19,000 passengers took advantage of the free transportation between Rossland and Red Mountain averaging 170 passengers per day, 14,000 of which were local or seasonal residents.

The organization gathered over 122 pages of data over the season to track the usage of the service and try to gauge its effect on the local economy to assist with future planning.

According to the study, hotel stays, including Red Mountain Resort accommodation and in Rossland, saw an increase of over 60 per cent and group bookings rose 100 per cent making the 2013/2014 season the best year for the industry since tracking began in 2006.

Steven said that a side benefit of having the free service available seemed to be as much for people working at Red Mountain as well as others in the food and beverage industry around the hill.

Although skiers, boarders, and staff rode for free Steven said it wasn’t really without cost.

“This is a model where it’s not really free,” she said. “Forty-two local businesses paid the ticket for people to use the bus.”

In addition to the local businesses picking up $42,000 of the tab, a matching amount was contributed to the service from the Resort Municipality Initiative, a rural B.C. economic development project under the provincial Ministry of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training.

For the future, Steven says they are looking at expanding the service by extending the bus route into lower Rossland and out to the Black Jack cross country ski area, using a larger bus to avoid having to leave people behind when they are over-capacity, and possibly tying in the route and schedule to accommodate students at Seven Summits, the old RSS, and Ecole des Sept Sommets in case School District 20 withdraws bus service next year.

 

“I think we provided a tremendous service for Rossland residents,” said Steven. “In the process I’m learning more than I ever expected about public transportation.”

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Severe storm warning remains in effect for the Kootenays

Two special weather statements have been issued for the West Kootenay

Update: Suspect in Montrose gas station stabbing new to the area

Police say the 30-year-old suspect stabbed a Montrose gas station employee

‘I knew what he wanted’: Man recalls black bear chasing him up tree in Slocan Valley

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

RDKB launches survey to address housing needs in the district

Communities in the district include Trail, Grand Forks, Rossland and Fruitvale

No passenger flights at West Kootenay Regional Airport until at least September

This is the third time Air Canada has announced changes to flight operations out of the airport

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

$200,000 Maybach impounded after ‘L’ driver caught excessively speeding in Vancouver

Meanwhile, the supervisor sat in the passenger seat, police said

Most Read