To the editor:
I am a person who is blind and I’m a regular user of the Kelowna transit system.
Here is a letter I sent to a number of people associated with the local transit system expressing my displeasure at a rather significant change that will occur with the No. 8 route, effective Sept. 1.
Dear Mr. Boyd and Mr. Kittmer:
It was a pleasure meeting the both of you at the transit open house at Orchard Park on May 1.
However, I was not pleased to learn of the changes you are considering for the No. 8 route, where it will no longer go down Ethel Street after Sept. 1.
This is a very important issue to me as a regular transit user.
As a person who is blind, it is my main form of mobility. As a result, I have copied a number of individuals to express my displeasure with this potential change.
I realize that transit is not meant as a door-to-door service. However, there should be a bit of convenience tied in with the service.
I live on Francis Avenue. Currently, to take the No. 8, I need to only walk to the end of my street, turn right on Ethel, walk a block and cross the street where I can catch the bus at Ethel and Morrison.
It is my understanding that as of Sept. 1, the bus will not travel down Ethel. You are both aware of the new routing that is being proposed so there is no need to review that.
This exclusion of the No. 8 going down Ethel will mean I will need to either walk over to Pandosy or Springfield to catch this bus. Now there is also the new No. 5 going down Gordon, which could be an option but it doesn’t go to Orchard Park.
If you don’t feel this change will impact me then what about the patients at Cottonwoods extended care facility or visitors who need to get to that facility?
Many of the visitors or residents may find it difficult, if not impossible, to wheel or use their walkers to go to Springfield, Pandosy or Gordon, or be dropped off at those locations.
Here is a potential solution.
It is my understanding the No. 8, as of September, will leave Orchard Park, travel down Springfield which turns into Cadder, turn left onto Pandosy, left onto KLO and left at Okanagan College.
Is it possible on the way back for the bus to turn right out of the college onto KLO, turn left on Casorso, right onto Lanfranco, right onto Lakeshore, right onto KLO, left on Richter, right onto Raymer, left on Ethel and turn right onto Springfield up to Orchard Park?
It is my understanding that one of your objectives is to have a bus that can take people from Rutland to Kelowna General Hospital.
My suggested route would keep that happening but also allow people on Ethel to be served.
To Kelowna counciland the MLA who represents this area—who have been contacted—I hope they can help in reversing the decision that has been made regarding the No. 8 bus route.
I will be very displeased if this change goes through. For me it will be an inconvenience but think of those who have greater mobility issues.
I am blind. I couldn’t imagine pushing a wheelchair or a walker in the winter out to Gordon, Springfield or Pandosy.
In future, please remember the people component when you make your decisions.