Kelowna Regional Transit turns 40

The Central Okanagan's transit system plans year-long celebration.

Kelowna Regional Transit will celebrate 40 years in operation in 2017.

Kelowna Regional Transit has launched a year-long promotional campaign to mark it’s 40th anniversary and recognize the role transit plays in the community.

The system started in 1976 as a private company, Lake Valley Transit, before becoming Kelowna Transit as part of a municipal partnership the following year. At the time it just served the City of Kelowna.

In 1981, HandyDart service was added and in 1982 service was expanded to the west side of the lake—then an unincorporated area of the Central Okanagan Regional District. As a regional system, it grew again in 1992 to include Lake Country and Peachland.

The 40th anniversary comes a little over a month after the system’s first shutdown due to a labour dispute was settled. The two-week strike by drivers was settled after the city brought the union representing the drivers and the company that operates the system under contract to B.C. Transit together, breaking an impasse that had stalled negotiations.

Despite that, city officials are looking to transit’s future with optimism.

“It is an exciting year ahead for the Kelowna Regional Transit system,” said Jerry Dombrowsky, transit and programs manager at the City of Kelowna about the 2017 celebrations.

“We’ve created a transit trivia game that people can follow on the City’s Facebook page.”

The trivia questions will be posted on the City’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/City of Kelowna. All of the answers to the transit trivia questions can be found on an interactive transit timeline that can be found at www.kelownaregionaltransittimeline.ca.

The timeline outlines the various service and infrastructure milestones of the system over the past 40 years.

“We’ll be giving away transit-related prizes, as well as hosting transit open houses so that people can learn about the many pass programs, discounts and options available to them,” said Dombrowsky.