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REPORTING · 28th October 2014
Walter McFarlane
It’s getting to be the time of year when the highways are getting less safe to drive. Kitimat City Council approved the Airport Transportation Subsidy on Monday, September 29th at t Committee of the Whole Meeting.

Councillor Rob Goffinet made a motion to extend the shuttle service until November 1st 2015 and have staff continue to monitor and review the program.

Deputy CAO Warren Waycheshen explained the history of the program. There was a bus to the airport in the past. The District talked to people in town to find out how much demand there was for the service and discovered that running a bus was too expensive if they do not know what the demand is.

The subsidy is for seniors, persons with disabilities and lower income individuals. There were 67 different trips through to the end of August: 28 of these were multi passenger and 39 were single passenger. The cost for 2014 was $5400; last year, it was $6400.

“It’s hitting the target market, people were using it last year, particularly in the fall and winter when it’s darker and not as easy to see and it’s being done on a cost effective basis,” said Waycheshen.

“This is an excellent service,” said Councillor Rob Goffinet. “But I still have people come to me and say, ‘why don’t we have a bus?’ And I ask them: ‘are you in this, this or this demographic?’ ‘Yes I am.’ ‘Would you like your personal cab?’ ‘Wow yes.’ They actually still do not know about this.”

The motion was called and carried.

The subsidized fare is $30 per person per one way trip to the Northwest Regional Airport via Coastal Taxi. If two or more qualifying persons are sharing the trip, the rate is reduced to $20 per person. If any passengers on the trip do not qualify for the subsidized rate, regular taxi rates will apply and the District will not provide for subsidized fares.

Do you meet the requirements for the subsidy? You qualify if you are over 60 years old and live in Kitimat, have a disability or are economically challenged as determined by the District of Kitimat’s Leisure Service Access Program. If you are over 60 or have a disability, a caregiver is eligible for the reduced fare.

To get the $30 fare from Coastal Taxi, if you are 60 or older, you must provide to the driver photo identification that includes your date of birth and your travel itinerary that provides flight information. If you have a disability or are economically challenged, the driver needs to see you Leisure Services Leisure Access ID card as well as your travel itinerary that provides flight information.