Back up the bus, public pressure, it would seem, has helped save a popular Kelowna bus route that the city wanted to scrap.
During its provisional budget review in February, city council voted to eliminate the no. 9 shoppers’ shuttle service the linked downtown to Orchard Park via the Parkinson RecreationCentre. To help pay to expand transit in other areas of the city, including to the the H2O Aquatic Centre in the Mission and in the Quail Ridge area, the city planed to eliminate the shopper shuttle route and the Saturday service in the no. 12 McCulloch route and cute some little used early morning and late night runs on other routes.
But now the city has had a change of heart and staff are now recommending a new version of the no. 9 route along with Saturday service on the no. 12 McCulloch route in south east Kelowna.
“After careful consideration, staff feel it would be beneficial to maintain some service on (the no. 9) route to allow either easy access to major shopping outlets or easy transfer to other transit routes,” the city’s regional programs manager Jerry Dombrowsky write in a report to go to council Monday.
The new route would connect downtown (Queensway) with Orchard Park Shopping Centre four times per day, seven days per week, with hourly service between 11:40 p.m. and 2:40 p.m. The buses on the route would continue to stop in front of Parkinson Recreation Centre.
While buses on the no. 10 North Rutland route provide a more frequent, parallel service, with stops near the no. 9 shopper shuttle stops, it uses only main streets, such as Bernard Avenue, Spall Road and Enterprise Way, while the no. 9 route operates on residential and secondary roads and is considered more accessible for many people including many seniors.
Earlier this week, Kelowna Coun. Mohini Singh road the bus on the route to show her support for keeping it.
Following council’s decision last month to eliminate the no. 9 route, Mayor and several of his councillors received many phone calls and letter protesting the planed change.
Dombrowsky said that after a review of the decision, and by working in with B.C. Transit, the city determined it could keep a modified version of the no. 9 route and also keep Saturday service on the no. 12 McCullockh route and still work within its budget for transit.
The proposal to keep both routes will go to council Monday and if approved, will go into effect March 25.