Lowering emissions. We have all thought about it, aspired to do it, and in some cases succeeded in changing our habits. With numerous alternative transportation options available in our region there are plenty of opportunities for driving less, sharing the ride, and lowering emissions.
One obvious choice is to ride (bike), stride (walk), or glide (ski) to your destination. No pre-planning is required and you avoid the winter nuisance of shoveling off and warming up your vehicle. Opting away from a vehicle also allows for Mother Nature to take care of daily stresses by slowing you down and feeding your lungs that much-needed fresh air.
Second come the local transit options:
- In Cranbrook, eight different routes work to cover the city, and fares vary for different age groups. If you do the majority of your traveling in Cranbrook and are considering becoming a single vehicle family, one adult under 65 can purchase a monthly unlimited transit pass for $50. Multiply that $50 by 12 months, and your annual cost of traveling is $600. A couple that normally insures 2 vehicles can look at spending more than $1000 on insurance per vehicle per year. Even before considering gas and maintenance, your decision to become a one vehicle family has already saved you $400 annually.
- In Kimberley, the transit service operates a door-to-door pick-up/drop-off from Monday to Friday between 8am and 4:30pm, which you call ahead to book. Fares are a standard rate of $3 for a single ticket or $27 for 10 tickets.
- The commuter bus connecting Kimberley and Cranbrook is another great travel option during the work week. This service has been running for just over 2 years in Kimberley and 1 year in Cranbrook between posted stops in both communities and is looking to add an additional time that will get commuters to work for 8am. If your Cranbrook shift starts at 8:30am or Kimberley shift starts at 9am this option would work for your current needs. All other travelers can take advantage of the regular Kimberley/Cranbrook service between Tuesday and Friday.
Then we have Kootenay Carshare. This is a membership driven co-op car share program originating from Nelson. The program has two vehicles in Kimberley, one car and one truck, available from the Centennial Hall parking lot. There are several membership options, and members must provide their driver’s abstract and hold a valid driver’s licence. An online booking calendar acts as the way to schedule your trips, and usage is charged per km. When a member fuels up the vehicle, the receipt is kept in the vehicle’s logbook and taken out of your usage invoice. In other words, you do not pay for gas or maintenance! All costs associated with using the vehicle are built into the per km fee. The local coordinator Dave Hale is happy to answer questions you may have at Kimberley@carsharecoop.ca or 250-427-4300.
Finally there is Kootenay Rideshare. With more people using the platform than ever before, it is becoming easier to find what you need when an alternative is required. Think of Kootenay Rideshare as a way to find a carpooling buddy on the trip you are already doing or a way to identify your need for a ride that someone may already be planning. It can be a win-win, get vehicles off the road, share travel costs and have someone with you to make the drive more enjoyable. Since this platform acts as a way for travelers to find each other, all agreements for ride compensation and travel arrangements are negotiated between users.
No matter what your needs, there is a local option ready to be explored. Let these small changes drive you towards lowering your emissions! Stay tuned – the next emission reducing article will take an in depth look at electric vehicles.