In 2019, a new bus stop was installed at Centre and Airport roads, with one additional trip downtown for a total of 32 trips plus two more trips to the Mountain Transit Centre.
Puckering said a more comprehensive survey should be done to gauge employees’ and travelers’ preferences for transit.
Glanbrook Coun. Brenda Johnson said based upon anecdotal evidence employees and airport customers are not using the buses.
“That is just observations,” she said.
Eisenberger said the city’s transit service hours don’t mesh with the airport’s operating hours which begin early in the morning and last until late in the evening.
“We are focusing on regular transit hours that really don’t match when the airport operates,” said Eisenberger.
For instance, the last bus departs the airport at 7:30 p.m., but flights continue to arrive up to 2 a.m.
In addition, airport staff arrive at 3 a.m. while the first bus arrives at the facility at 5:30 p.m.
Puckering told councillors airport officials will provide a plan of action to determine what transit service is needed at the next subcommittee meeting. In addition, transit director Debbie Dalle Vedove is expected to provide an update on bus service to the airport.
Meanwhile, councillors applauded the airport’s escalating passenger numbers that Puckering said could hit the coveted 1 million mark this year.
The airport, which is known for being Canada’s largest overnight express cargo hub, nearly tripled its passengers to 955,373 in 2019, a 187 per cent growth from 2016. In 2018, the passenger figure was 725,630. The airport has only been able to hit the one-million passenger figure once in 2003, when it had 1,041,204 passengers.
Part of the reason for the airport’s passenger success is its marketing as a low-cost facility, capitalizing on the Swoop Airlines expansion.
“I have been very critical of the airport in terms of some of the lower numbers of the last 20 years,” said Ward 5 Coun. Chad Collins. “I commend you for making great inroads. Hopefully that one million is surpassed in 2020.”