WTA buses will link Discovery Days and Artrain
and Birch Bay will get their summer bus link back for one
weekend connecting the Artrain and international sculpture
exhibition in Blaine with the Discovery Days festivities
in Birch Bay.
It came up as a good idea and we said lets put this together, said Blaine city council and Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) board member Mike Meyers.
We do various special events throughout the year. We just havent done one in Blaine in a while, said WTA director of operations Paul Schramer. Early Skywater festivals had special bus service, he said, and the Stella trolley bus ran between Blaine and Birch Bay several years ago but was discontinued due to lack of ridership. It didnt work out too well, Schramer said.
With thousands expected in Blaine and Birch Bay for a weekend crowded with events, the buses are expected to stay busy. It looks like at least two vehicles will be needed, so they will likely be regular buses, Schramer said.
The first loop will connect the Artrain on Marine Drive with Peace Arch State Park, stopping in downtown Blaine. The route will operate from July 18 to July 21, starting at 11 a.m. and shutting down at 5:30 p.m. Buses will run the loop every 30 minutes and Schramer expects the schedule to be finalized this week.
On the weekend another loop will run from Blaine to Birch Bay with several stops at either end. Schramer said plans now are to run the buses from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on July 20 and 21, most likely once an hour.
The WTA will be shelling out a still unspecified amount to run the special bus service but will recover some of the cost in fares. Well be putting the money out but some will come back, Schramer said. Riders will each pay 50¢ each trip.
Meyers said he sees the bus service next weekend as a good precedent that could lead to special buses for other local events. However, he doesnt think its an opening to reestablishing regular service to Birch Bay. I dont think were ready for it yet, he said. We tried it and it didnt work before, but when the need is there Im sure well try it again..