It’s not too late to comment on future public transit plan

By on August 6, 2014
The Transit Future Bus team was in Osoyoos on July 23 to hear from local residents about their priorities for transit service. Front from left are Daniel Pizarro and Adriana McMullen, both of BC Transit. Behind from left are George Neil, the driver from Penticton Transit, Sarah Phillips and Maria Lockley. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Transit Future Bus team was in Osoyoos on July 23 to hear from local residents about their priorities for transit service. Front from left are Daniel Pizarro and Adriana McMullen, both of BC Transit. Behind from left are George Neil, the driver from Penticton Transit, Sarah Phillips and Maria Lockley. (Richard McGuire photo)

If you’re like most people, you may have missed the Transit Future Bus when it came to Osoyoos during a thunderstorm on July 23.

You still have until Saturday, Aug. 9, however, to comment on the future of public transit in the region on a web survey.

The survey can be found at www.bctransit.com/transitfuture and by clicking on South Okanagan.

The 40-foot decommissioned Transit Future Bus was to have visited the Gyro Park Wednesday evening Market on Main to allow Osoyoosites to comment, but the market was abruptly moved to Town Square and then cancelled due to bad weather.

The visit was a follow-up on an earlier Transit Future Bus visit to Osoyoos and other Okanagan-Similkameen communities last fall to seek the public’s opinion to develop the region’s 25-year transit future plan.

“What the transit future plan looks to do is set short-, medium- and long-term goals of the transit system going forward,” said Daniel Pizarro, senior regional transit manager with BC Transit. “To understand what investment and infrastructure is needed and to put together service options for consideration.”

The current consultation, he said, is the second phase. This builds on the more general comments gathered in September by seeking the public’s input into specific priorities.

In phase one, planners heard that regional connections are of huge importance, for example connecting people in Osoyoos with Penticton and Kelowna for medical trips and shopping.

There is demand for increased regional service, better connectivity with local service and more frequency, Pizarro said.

Currently communities such as Penticton and Summerland have their own transit service, he said.

“One of the things we’re looking at in the transit future plan is whether the service would work better on a regional basis under one riders guide, one fare structure and potentially one contract,” said Pizarro, adding this kind of amalgamation took place in the West Kootenays and helped to eliminate inefficiencies and duplication.

BC Transit has a unique partnership model that doesn’t exist in most other parts of Canada, said Pizarro. There is a 50-50 split in funding between the province through BC Transit and a local government partner.

Local governments receive all the fare and advertising revenue to offset what local taxpayers pay for the service.

“The model allows transit in areas where the population is below 25,000 and 10,000 that you wouldn’t see in other parts of Canada where the model doesn’t exist,” he said.

In addition to Osoyoos, Oliver and the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) would also be funding partners in a regional connection between Osoyoos and Penticton, Pizarro said.

RICHARD McGUIRE

Osoyoos Times

 

 

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