October 04, 2013 - 12:20 PM
OKANAGAN - An airport shuttle bus service connecting Okanagan communities to Kelowna's airport will never get off the ground if people don't get on board.
There might be a desire for seamless transportation from the Kelowna International Airport all the way down to Osoyoos, but South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce transportation chair Robert Linttell said if no one uses the proposed airport express bus the project will falter or fail.
Linttell is one of the chief proponents for the shuttle service. He said stakeholders have always wanted express transportation connecting their communities to the airport. There just hadn't been enough initiative. Greyhound used to offer more regular service, connecting south Okanagan communities with Kelowna and its airport, but it dialed back its business.
Kelowna's airport director Sam Samaddar said there are 120,000 people landing on the runways or taking off from YLW every year, yet there is no dedicated transportation service to take them where they want to go. "There's no point to bringing people in from all over the world and dropping them off on the curb."
Lintell said to driving to Kelowna for a flight and then leaving your car in the long term parking lot can be expensive. In contrast, a shuttle service can pick someone up at a designated pick-up point as far south as Osoyoos and take them to the Kelowna International Airport or to the Penticton Regional Airport.
Lintell said the proposed express bus would be comparable to a Greyhound rig. It would carry about 45 people and be distinctly marked as the airport express bus.
The chamber and other stakeholders have formed a task force to work out the details. Lintell said they have all the expertise in-house to do this. They won't need to go to the expense of contracting an outside consultant to come up with a business model.
"I dont' think we have to study this thing to death," he said. Once the plan is in place they'd look for a company willing to start up the service.
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