Lake Country council’s review of its Integrated Transit Study turned into a scathing critique of bus service in the Central Okanagan.
Council heard an update on the strategy from Watt Consulting Group at Tuesday’s (June 21) meeting. After the presentation, Coun. Bill Scarrow, who is a bus driver, noted it may address future problems, but not the state the service is in currently.
“To be honest with you, I’ve never been more disgusted with the service we’re providing Lake Country, Kelowna all through to Peachland,” said Scarrow. “The contractor can’t seem to hire enough people to drive busses and many busses don’t exist that are on the schedule. There have been occasions where if you want to get to Lake Country from UBCO you better go before 2:00 in the afternoon because there are no busses afterward. Not because the service isn’t there, not because the schedule isn’t there, it’s because the drivers aren’t there. The service is failing.”
Scarrow added this has been happening for at least a year.
“Our company, yay them, haven’t been able to deal with it. And that’s their business, not mine. I’m disgusted to be a bus driver and I’m disgusted with the service we’re providing.”
Coun. Blair Ireland also voiced his dissatisfaction with transit service.
“The biggest problem that exists right now is we’re being run by a foreign company that’s taking a profit out of transit,” said Ireland. “It should not be happening. That should be going to pay drivers to do the job. ”
Lake Country routes fall under the Kelowna Regional Transit System, which is operated by FirstCanada, a subsidiary of FirstGroup based in Aberdeen, Scotland. Ireland also said he would like to see future bus service to parks, beaches, wineries, and attractions in the community.
“Right now there is not a viable business in directing transit to those locations,” added Ireland. “But if we don’t have them on the map they never will be.”