New Okanagan Falls bus route meeting B.C. Transit expectations

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO

PENTICTON - B.C. Transit officials are satisfied with first year results of the Okanagan Falls transit service.

The new transit service, consisting of a main route from Okanagan Falls to Penticto, and a secondary route within Okanagan Falls, continued to show good results overall, with a 13 per cent increase in ridership and an operating cost that was two per cent below budget, according to Daniel Pizarro with B.C. Transit.

Pizarro delivered a performance report on the fledgling transit route known as Route 20/21 to the Okanagan Similkameen Regional district board yesterday, Aug. 4.

Estimated total annual operating cost of the route was $143,300, which works out to an estimated cost of $23.40 per passenger using the service. Estimated revenue from the service was $8,600, derived from an average 2.9 riders per service hour.

The number of rides per hour were an indicator of service performance, Pizarro told the board, noting the Okanagan Falls route at 2.9 rides per service hour was very close to the estimate of three originally predicted.

The Okanagan Falls route was introduced in January 2015 and includes five round trips weekdays between Okanagan Falls and Penticton, with an additional five round trips locally in Okanagan Falls. 

The new route is the second under regional district administration, along with Route 10, operating between Naramata and Penticton.

Pizarro called the first year’s demand and response to the route to be “satisfactory,” although the route did fall short of a projected ridership of 5,500, with 4,500 users in year one.

He noted a commuter pattern of ridership had been established with the route, which was now seeing peak ridership in morning and late afternoon hours.

Customers were made up of adults and college students (48 per cent), students from Kindergarten to grade 12 (37 per cent) and seniors (14 per cent).

He said next steps for the regional transit plan include the provision of service design standards and performance guidelines, the creation of a regional district-wide rider’s guide and local promotion opportunities, and the integration of the Osoyoos service into the regional district administration.

The regional district board recently approved a recommendation to establish a South Okanagan regional transit service, which requires public approval.

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