Senior regional transit manager Rob Williams and Matthew Boyd, planning manager with BC Transit offer a public information session, March 14, at the Queensway Transit Exchange. - Image Credit: Carli Berry/Capital News

Transit open houses receive feedback from public

A series of public open houses will coincide with online opportunities to participate.

BC Transit, the City of Kelowna, the Districts of Peachland and Lake Country and the Regional District of Central Okanagan want to hear from you about future improvements to the regional transit system.

A series of public open houses will coincide with online opportunities to participate. The open houses will take place March 14, 15 and 16 and on March 22. The online opportunities will run until March 24.

“We want to continue making Kelowna an environmentally friendly and sustainable city, and having a strong transit system is part of that goal,” said Jerry Dombrowsky, Kelowna’s transit and programs manager.

“I look forward to seeing how the next set of priorities can help us to move this goal forward.”

Kelowna resident Doug Klassen rides in a wheelchair and said that overall he is happy with the current transit system, but would like to see longer hours with buses on weekends.

“I don’t have any complaints, but the service could always improve. They don’t start servicing my route until 8:30 a.m,” he said.

“We’re inviting the public to provide us with feedback. It’s a user-driven service,” said planning manager with BC Transit Matthew Boyd.

With a belief the best way to build a transit system is to listen to the people who use it every day, the public consultation also coincides with the local system’s 40th anniversary this year.

Since the introduction of the 2012 Transit Future Plan, many of the short-term goals have been accomplished, say planners with the local system.

This upcoming public engagement is aimed at allowing current and future transit users to learn about the updated plan and identify priorities moving forward.

Accomplishments from the 2012 plan include:

• The introduction of the 97 Okanagan RapidBus and subsequent local service integration

• The introduction of new frequent and local routes throughout the region

• Improvement to the service frequencies on local and frequent routes

• The introduction of significant infrastructure improvements throughout the region including the Queensway Exchange in downtown Kelowna.

“The growth in the Kelowna transit system can be linked to the successful implementation of priorities identified by transit customers in the Transit Future Plan,” said Manuel Achadinha, BC Transit president, and CEO.

“The implementation of the RapidBus project and Queensway Exchange are two examples of partnership better connecting people and communities.”

The open houses will take place:

• March 14 at the Queensway Transit Exchange in Kelowna from 2 p.m to 5 p.m.

• March 15 at 4th Street Place in Peachland from noon to 3 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Lake Country Municipal Hall

• March 16 at the Parkinson Recreation Centre in Kelowna from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and at the Rutland Activity Centre in Kelowna from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

• March 22 at the Ellison Community Hall from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Open houses that were being considered for West Kelowna were postponed after West Kelowna city council said it needed more information because it was being asked to consider cuts to routes there and was not prepared to give any input until it received the information.

The public engagement in the Central Okanagan will include an online survey.

The Kelowna Regional Transit System has a total of 28 routes in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Lake Country, Peachland, on Westbank First Nation land and in the regional district

It currently serves 4.9 million passengers each year.

For more information on transit in the Kelowna region, call 250-860-8121 or visit the transit website.

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