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West Kelowna councillors ride the bus

After hearing complaints from the public about riding buses, two West Kelowna councillors decided to experience the local transit system first-hand.

Coun. Rick de Jong and Carol Zanon rode the bus from each of their homes to UBCO last month.

Throughout the trip, the councillors made observations and had conversations with regular transit users.

De Jong noted his first leg of the trip from Glenrosa to downtown Westbank was standing room only.

During that stretch of the ride, he heard “rumblings about scheduling” issues from other passengers on the bus.

The bus made several stops to pick up passengers in Glenrosa and de Jong said it was a few minutes late arriving at the town centre.

“There certainly is room for improvements on the scheduling side of things,” said de Jong.

The newest member of West Kelowna council used the opportunity to educate riders about Bus Rapid Transit, which will be introduced in 2014.

“There’s an eager anticipation for the Rapid Bus Transit that’s coming down in the near future. I can see it being well used and well supported,” said de Jong.

The trip from Westbank to UBCO was seamless and de Jong said the journey was quicker than he envisioned it would be.

Zanon said she had no issue getting to Westbank Centre on time from Smith Creek; however, after the councillors got back to the town centre just before noon, she was forced to wait until bus service to Smith Creek resumed in the afternoon during peak hours.

Route 28, which services Smith Creek, had its service cut back last September to cut down costs in anticipation of Bus Rapid Transit.

Coun. Bryden Winsby asked de Jong and Zanon to rate their bus ride experience on a scale of one to 10 during Tuesday’s council meeting.

“From an enjoyment perspective, I’d have to rate it around a seven—not looking at the efficiencies of the system because there are efficiencies that need to be addressed,” said de Jong.

He added Route 21 from Glenrosa is often late because it’s “heavily loaded and constantly stopping for multiple passengers to board during peak hours.”

Zanon rated her experience an eight out of 10 and noted the bus drivers were “professional, polite and courteous.”

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com

 

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