September 12, 2013 - 2:17 PM
PENTICTON/SUMMERLAND - Summerland is hoping two months of free transit service will encourage riders to pony up after Dec. 31.
Summerland will launch its new route to Penticton on Oct. 28 and until the end of the year it will be free of charge. The route will also include stops throughout Summerland. There will be four return trips per weekday with two weekday stops in Trout Creek. The four weekday trips will include stops at Penticton Regional Hospital.
Penticton Transit official Mike Palosky says he was surprised the free service would be two months long. B.C. Transit spokesperson Meribeth Burton was also a little surprised and says two free months shows the dedication Summerland has towards this project. B.C. Transit recommended free rides but she has never seen two months worth of free bus trips.
Summerland's long-term planner Julie McGuire says there is going to be a big community party on Oct. 21 to inform the public and kick off the eagerly awaited transit service.
"We've been trying to get regular transit service between Summerland and Penticton for (12) years," she says."B.C. Transit finally agreed to consider it. Everyone is so happy it is coming."
Summerland will be leasing a the new bus from B.C. Transit for $101,300 annually with the province paying $47,300 and the district paying $54,000.
If service is provided for free from Oct. 28 to Dec. 31 this would mean a maximum revenue loss of $30,272. McGuire hopes the two months of free service will encourage paid ridership into the new year. Starting in January transit fares will go from zero to $2 to any location in Summerland and zero to $4 for a one-way trip to Penticton.
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- This story was updated at 3:43 p.m., Sept. 12, 2013 for accuracy.
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