Posted on 14 March 2013 by admin
Discussions are underway about a possible shuttle service linking Kelowna International Airport with Osoyoos and various points in between.
The idea of a shuttle service has been raised in the past, but never before have so many key players been involved and supportive.
The initiative came from Kelowna International Airport’s management, but other players such as the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce, Destination Osoyoos the Town of Osoyoos and local businesses have been involved in talks and are positive about the idea.
Details and agreements still need to be worked out and it may be some time before such a shuttle can start service.
Still, the idea is one with great potential to bring more tourists to the area as well as to serve local residents.
Currently, the only option for many tourists coming to Osoyoos after flying to Kelowna is to rent a vehicle or pay an expensive taxi fare.
Some people don’t drive and others may not want to be saddled with the cost and responsibility of a vehicle if they’re planning to spend all their time relaxing in Osoyoos.
As Mayor Stu Wells points out, many local residents take trips elsewhere in the world, sometimes for long periods, and they don’t want to face the expense and hassle of leaving their car at the airport for an extended period.
Also being considered is including stops in other communities such as Penticton, Okanagan Falls and Oliver.
Obviously serving other communities along the way will increase ridership and revenues for the service, as long as stops and starts aren’t excessively frequent.
It’s worth considering also whether such a shuttle could provide transportation to local residents who have medical appointments, government business or other reasons to travel to Kelowna and Penticton.
Kelowna International Airport obviously has its own reasons for encouraging people to use it as a transportation hub and this includes encouraging tourist traffic to the South Okanagan.
But there’s a convergence of interests as local organizations see the potential to develop tourism in this area.
A meeting open to the public is planned for Wednesday, March 20 at 5:50 p.m. at Road 13 Winery between Oliver and Osoyoos. Those with an interest in this idea are encouraged to attend.
Robert Linttell, the chamber’s transportation chair and the man who has the most direct contact with airport management on a regular basis, is going to be available to answer many key questions at the meeting on March 20.
Linttell said there’s a lot of excitement among key stakeholders, but added it’s going to take a lot of community support from the people and municipal leaders in towns like Oliver and Osoyoos to make this idea become a reality.
Many key players have shown support for the idea. It’s now up to the public to show if they are behind it.
This shuttle service proposal is too good to let slip away. We hope the residents of Osoyoos show support by either attending this meeting or letting their local councillor or Mayor Wells know they want this idea to become a reality.
Good luck to everyone involved.