Quick action puts brakes
to bus service downgrade

Some quick action on the part of Town of Osoyoos employees — working with other South Okanagan municipalities — has saved afternoon appointment-oriented transit service for would-be passengers to Penticton.

Beginning Sept. 3, riders using the South Okanagan-Similkameen Transit System can better connect with the Kelowna Regional Transit System with the launch of a direct trip to Kelowna from Penticton.

The new route will provide two round trips “at commuter times” every weekday and will provide two additional midday trips on Mondays to improve connections to other areas within the South Okanagan-Similkameen region.

But the schedule change also had set up an inconvenience that would have made it all but impossible for South Okanagan residents to take the afternoon bus from Osoyoos to attend medical appointments or look after other errands in Penticton.

As things sat before Town staff were able to affect a change, the bus would have arrived in Penticton and departed for home an hour later.

“The change was concerning as it would not allow residents any time to attend appointments or do business in Penticton and would virtually be an empty bus headed back to Penticton in the afternoons,” explained Janette Van Vianen, the Town’s Director of Corporate Services.

Staff expressed the Town’s frustration to BC Transit, which at first was reluctant to change the proposed schedule but relented as more municipal voices joined the chorus.

In the end, BC Transit provided an altered schedule — to take effect Sept. 3 — that has the afternoon bus arriving in downtown Penticton from Osoyoos at 2 p.m. and returning to Osoyoos at 3:43.

“[The change] will mean an additional cost of $4,000 to $8,000 for the South Okanagan system, however that amount is shared with the Town of Oliver and the RDOS areas serviced by the system and include Areas A, C, and D,” Ms Van Vianen wrote in a report to Osoyoos Council.

Fares on the new Number 70 Penticton/Kelowna will be $5 per trip.

For more information on routes, schedules and fares in the South Okanagan-Similkameen Transit System, please visit bctransit.com/south-okanagan-similkameen.

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