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3 Kelowna city councillors hop on the bus for ‘Transit Week Challenge’

The Okanagan Transit Alliance has challenged city council members to use public transit for 1 week
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Person waiting at a bus stop in Kelowna that is without seating or a shelter. (Okanagan Transit Alliance/Submitted)

The Okanagan Transit Alliance is extending an invitation to elected officials and members of the public to take part in a ‘bussin’ challenge.

From Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, elected officials and members of the public are encouraged to use their city’s public transit system as their primary mode of transportation.

The purpose of the challenge is to highlight both the shortcomings and positives of the Central Okanagan’s transit system.

So far, three Kelowna councillors and two councillors from West Kelowna have agreed to participate in the week long challenge.

“We want them to go out and see what is working and what is not,” said Kirstin Pulles, a member of the Okanagan Transit Alliance, in an interview with Capital News regarding the initiative.

Kelowna City Councillors Gord Lovegrove, Luke Stack and Rick Webber have committed to the challenge. An up-to-date list representatives who have agreed to participate is available online at okanagantransit.com.

Coun. Maxine DeHart has said that she is out of town for the week of the challenge.

In West Kelowna, Councillors Garrett Millsap and Stephen Johnston have agreed to participate.

At the end of the week, a survey will be distributed to all participants to learn about individual experiences and their thoughts on their city’s transit system.

Pulles said that unfortunately in Central Okangan, the public transportation system is not a reliable alternative to owning a car.

She said that the bus system does not run frequently enough to make it a realistic option for most people.

Despite being an advocate for public transportation, Pulles had to begrudgingly buy a car after moving to Kelowna despite having gone more than a decade without owning a vehicle in Ontario.

While she was able to make the purchase, owning a vehicle is not accessible to all people. Many folks are not able to drive or afford a vehicle due to financial, physical, or psychological constraints.

“For many people, they rely on the transit system every day. Many city councillors cannot even commit to using it for one day,” said Pulles.

She noted that if Kelowna’s municipal representatives cannot commit to the full week of public transportation, they could start small and attempt one day, or even make an effort to take a few trips on the bus.

At the end of the week long challenge, there will be a celebration and wrap up party at Railside Brewing. All are invited to the event, regardless of participation.

To learn more visit Okanagantransit.com.

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Jacqueline Gelineau

About the Author: Jacqueline Gelineau

I'm a reporter in the beginning stages of my career. I joined the team at Capital News in November 2021...
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