August 15, 2013 - 1:48 PM
KELOWNA - Emil Anderson Construction Inc. of Kelowna has been awarded a $4.8-million contract to expand RapidBus BC, providing transportation options for families and communities and creating jobs.
RapidBus BC provides passengers with faster, more frequent bus transportation. Since the service began in 2010, ridership has grown almost 10 per cent between downtown Kelowna and the University of British Columbia-Okanagan (UBCO).
"Improved transit service gets people home to their families faster, and allows more people to commute to work or school," said Premier Christy Clark. "RapidBus will provide a sustainable and efficient transportation network, save time, and encourage more people to take the bus."
Building on the success of RapidBus BC in Kelowna, the service will be expanded to West Kelowna and Westbank First Nation. The expansion includes building four transit stations and two transit exchanges, which will connect to the existing RapidBus service between downtown Kelowna and UBCO. Construction will start in September and is expected to finish in July 2014. Service is expected to begin in summer 2014.
"RapidBus will improve transit linkages and service for our region," said Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray. "I am really happy to see that construction of the Gordon and Richter Stations along Highway 97 in Kelowna will commence later this year."
"The District of West Kelowna is pleased to see that construction will soon begin on two new exchanges in our community," said West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater. "We envision the exchange on Elliott Road will complement our efforts for Westbank Centre revitalization, and the Boucherie Exchange will service an important recreation and municipal hub as well as the students of Mt. Boucherie school."
The Government of Canada is contributing up to $10.9 million from the Building Canada Fund and another $6 million from the Gas Tax Fund towards the $46 million project. The government of B.C. is contributing $23.9 million, the City of Kelowna is contributing $5.2 million and West Kelowna is contributing land.
"Connecting the RapidBus from UBCO through the City of Kelowna to the Westside and through WFN lands will be a great benefit to our communities, members and residents," said Westbank First Nation Chief Robert Louie. "Westbank First Nation is proud to be a partner on this sustainable transportation initiative, which will bring environmental and economic rewards to the region."
"Awarding this contract is a major step forward for Kelowna's RapidBus - a service that will provide BC Transit's customers with a more efficient and effective transit system," said BC Transit president and chief executive officer Manuel Achadinha.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013