At the opening of the new UBC Okanagan transit exchange Friday, (left to right) UBCO principal Deborah Buszard, B.C. Transportation Minister Claire Trevena, Erinn Pinkerton of B.C. Transit and Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran were on hand.—Alistair Waters/Capital News

UBC Okanagan transit exchange opens

The campus exchange is the last piece of the RapidBus system through Kelowna and Central Okanagan

The new transit exchange at the UBC Okanagan campus in Kelowna has officially opened.

The $5 million project, which is the final piece of the local RapidBus system connecting West Kelowna with the campus via Kelowna with limited stops along Highway 97, was opened Friday by B.C. Transportation Minister Claire Trevena.

While part of the Kelowna Regional transit system, the exchange will also be a link to Vernon as it will serve as a terminus for buses between Vernon and the campus.

Located at the heart of the campus, the new transit exchange features six new bus bays, a drop-off area, four bus layover stations, transit shelters and bicycle storage lockers, as well as a new road built for the exchange.

A partnership between the federal and provincial governments, the university and the local governments that are part of the Kelowna Regional Transit system, the exchange has already proven to be a busy place since classes started earlier this month.

University officials said it has also helped reduce pedestrian congestion in the area by allowing the 25 buses per hour that currently stop at UBCO during peak periods to drop off their passengers and move off of the busy main road on campus where the previous bus stops were located.

With the growing UBCO student body now at 9,000 and more than 10,000 people on campus including teachers, support staff and administration, Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran said an estimated 15 per cent of all transit riders in the local are from the university.