Penticton city council wants new transit service to Kelowna suspended - InfoNews

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Penticton city council wants new transit service to Kelowna suspended

Penticton City Council is recommending suspension of the new Penticton to Kelowna bus route due to drastically reduced ridership since COVID-19 restrictions began.
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April 23, 2020 - 1:45 PM

The COVID-19 pandemic is crushing local transit ridership, prompting Penticton city council to recommend suspension of the fledgling Penticton to Kelowna bus route.

Council approved a staff recommendation today, April 23, to ask the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen to suspend the service. The discussions were part of a larger conversation regarding COVID-19 induced changes to City service levels and capital projects.

The Kelowna route was inaugurated in Sept. 2019, and was a popular and growing service until the pandemic restrictions created big declines in ridership, from 78 passengers a week to 18, a drop of 77 per cent. Other Penticton routes saw similar declines, including Route 2, which dropped from 206 riders weekly to 82, and Route 4, which went from 335 to 99.

“The province is recommending everyone to stay home, and the university (in Kelowna) is not operating. Most shopping centres are closed, so I don’t see the need for route 70 (between Penticton and Kelowna) to continue for the foreseeable future,” Mayor John Vassilki told council.

Councillor Campbell Watt says he wants to support the riders still using the system, but can't justify the costs under the present circumstances.

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