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South Okanagan gets on board with transit plan

B.C. Transit representatives toured Osoyoos, Oliver and Kaleden to generate interest in the regional service this week.
July 08, 2015 - 8:30 AM

PENTICTON - A plan to see transit improved in the Penticton area is moving forward after getting the green light from city council this week.

The Okanagan Similkameen Transit Future Plan received thumbs up from Penticton City Council, clearing the way forward for initial steps in the implementation of a plan that attempts to project the region’s transit needs over the next 25 years.

On Monday, July 6, Senior Transit Planner Maria Lockley told council short term transit goals in the city involved improvements to bus stop amenities and reconfiguration and expansion of the Cherry Lane Mall bus exchange while Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said he'd like to see B.C. Transit consider adding a transit hub to the city’s downtown core.

Lockley said the most desired service sought after locally by transit riders was improved service from Penticton to Kelowna, adding the regional service expects to serve 1.74 million riders each year by 2040.

Council approval came on the same day B.C. Transit Senior Regional Transit Manager Daniel Pizarro and Lockley toured through the communities of Osoyoos, Oliver and Kaleden in a transit bus. Pizarro said he was pleased at the number of people who turned up to visit the touring bus, which he said was meant to provide more information to residents about services available in addition to talking to local residents about their transit needs.

Pizarro said residents in Kaledan are interested in seeing a regular transit schedule instead of the on-demand service that currently exists. Residents would also like to see the bus do a loop through the community instead of only stopping at the community hall.

Pizarro also wants to work with those in the community who expressed interest in providing a pick-up service for those requiring transit in the community, in order to bring them to the community hall for pickup.

“At a time when we are trying to maximize the service that is already there, it’s really useful to work with those volunteer transit networks,” he said.

Pizarro said he and Lockley will be seeking transit plan approval from Summerland and Princeton councils in the coming weeks as well.

Once the endorsements are in place, a reorganization of the governance structure will take place and all partners will work together to form a transit committee in order to begin implementation of the first phase of the transit future plan.

The first objective will be to bring all transit schedules under one rider’s guide and fare structure in order to provide more customer ease of use. A committee can be expected to be put together in the next few months, and the governance side of the plan to be in place within two years.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at sarstad@infonews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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