Duncan to end transit rebate program Jan. 1

The City of Duncan’s transit rebate program will end as of Jan. 1.

The City of Duncan’s transit rebate program will end as of Jan. 1.

Council decided to cancel the program at it’s meeting on Oct. 17 after finance director Talitha Soldera indicated it was not as successful as hoped.

The goal of the program, which was first introduced in 2012, was to encourage more people to use public transit and obtain feedback from riders on ways to improve the service.

As of May, first-time participants received a 75 per cent rebate on their monthly bus pass, and those who continued in the program received a 25 per cent rebate on their monthly passes.

In a report, Soldera said many bus riders stopped participating in the program as it was less expensive to pay per ride than to pay 75 per cent of a monthly bus pass.

Soldera said that since May, only 13 new bus riders signed up for the program, and only two took advantage of the program for more than the initial month.

“The goal of the transit rebate program was to encourage more people to use public transit, but the majority of participants are regular riders,” she said in her report.

“Council should consider whether the number of new riders is sufficient to continue with the program.”

Mayor Phil Kent said the program is open for reinstatement at a later date.

He said the priority at this time is to look at the service standards of the local transit service and consider the possibility of schedule and route changes to better meet the needs of bus riders in the Cowichan Valley.