The communities of Blackfalds and Lacombe will keep a close eye on the BOLT bus going forward.
Both have signed off on the formation of a Transit Advisory Committee, dedicated specfically to monitoring the health of BOLT and how to strengthen it.
The BOLT bus currently travels from Red Deer to Lacombe via Blackfalds and vice-versa. The route recently survived a close vote by Lacombe city council to scrap it altogether, low ridership being the prime reason.
“Launching a joint committee with our service partner, the Town of Blackfalds, and engaging citizens’ points of view will assist in gathering the in-depth information needed to address council’s concerns,” says Lacombe Mayor Grant Creasey. "This review is an example of the due diligence that this council will expend in order to honor our strategic goal related to prudent fiscal management.”
Blackfalds Mayor Richard Poole says his council is completely behind reviving the sustainability of BOLT.
"We believe it's a valuable regional service and we're very strongly in support of maintaining it," he says. "With this committee, what we're hoping to do is open up the lines of communication with the inclusion of Burman University into the mix. We're hoping that the increased ridership from there will be sufficient to make it a really viable service for everyone."
Burman University will soon offer all students a low-cost universal pass through a three-year commitment with the City of Lacombe. That also means there will be an additional BOLT on weekday evenings, a new Sunday charter service, and the Saturday rides will be cancelled.
The committee will be comprised of six voting members -- two councillors from each council, and one resident from each municipality. Designates from Red Deer Transit, Burman University and both municipality administrations will participate as non-voting members.
The committee will report its findings and recommendations to both councils on a bi-annual basis.
Both municipalities fund BOLT to the tune of about $225,000 annually.
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