Expanded RapidBus service, new routes and more hours coming to Kelowna regional transit

Starting next week RapidBus will connect Westbank to UBCO campus via Kelowna.

Preparations for it may not have mirrored its name, but RapidBus is finally ready to roll into Westbank.

The arrival of the express transit service linking Westbank with the UBC Okanagan campus via downtown Kelowna along Highway 97 is one of several changes to be unveiled by the regional transit system starting next week.

As of Sunday, in addition to the expansion of RapidBus—it has been running between downtown Kelowna and UBCO since 2010—new routes will be introduced in Kelowna and Lake Country, Peachland will get better evening service a total of 15,000 more operating hours per year will be added to the overall system.

Building on the success RapidBus has experienced during its first four years of operation, the second phase is now complete. New RapidBus exchanges have been built at Boucherie Mountain and Westbank Centre in West Kelonwa, with real-time passenger information available at each stop.

In Kelowna, a new Route 5 Gordon bus will provide a two-way direct connection via Gordon Drive to downtown Kelowna, the RapidBus corridor on Highway 97, the Capri Shopping Centre, Okanagan College and the Mission Recreation Centre. Another route, the No. 8 University will be realigned to deliver a direct connection to Kelowna General Hospital and Okanagan College.

In Lake Country, a new Route 32 The Lakes will connect the Lake Country Town Centre with The Lakes neighbourhood during weekday peak periods. The new route will support current and future residential and commercial growth in The Lakes area, say regional transit planners.

Meanwhile, the Route 22 bus that serves Peachland  will have improved evening, Sunday and holiday service. The route will link to the recently completed new Westbank Centre transit exchange in order to provide better regional transit connectivity.

Overall, a total of 15,000 more service hours will be added—representing a 8.5 per cent growth in transit servicehere.

The expansion hours is being paid for by Kelowna, Peachland and and Lake Country. The changes in West Kelowna and on Westbank First Nation land have been achieved using existing resources, says B.C. Transit.

“The additional 15,000 annual service hours will go a long way towards meeting the public transportation needs of Kelowna,” said Norm Letnick, MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country. “In particular, the new route in Lake Country will provide convenient, efficient service for current and future residents of the area.”

For more information on the Kelowna Regional Transit system go to www.bctransit.com/regions/kel or call 250-860-8121.