Winnifred Hibbert is circulating a petition to increase the transit service.

Winnifred Hibbert is circulating a petition to increase the transit service.

Campaign demands expanded transit

Vernon residents have taken pen to paper in a battle to have transit service expanded.

Vernon residents have taken pen to paper in a battle to have transit service expanded.

Winnifred Hibbert and a group of like-minded citizens have collected 2,300 names so far on a petition demanding that transit run from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.

“The buses don’t run on holidays and yet people work then, and they only run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays and people work,” said Hibbert.

“And if people working in the evening, there is no bus to get home. They have to walk across town.”

While she is a senior, Hibbert says she is concerned about the impact the current transit service is having on those trying to earn a living.

“The buses don’t run adequately for the working crowd. If it catered to them, the service would pay for itself.”

The petition will be given to Vernon council Sept. 23 and Hibbert plans to put some pressure on officials.

“I want them to park their cars for four months and use the bus system totally for everything,” she said.

“They can get a first-hand view of what people put up with.”

Coun. Patrick Nicol says the city will consider Hibbert’s petition when it is presented.

“I applaud her for taking up the cause,” he said, adding the  city has put considerable resources into transit.

“We have expanded the service more than other communities. We have tried to add numbers and routes to it.”

Nicol admits more could be done.

“We won’t get the numbers to justify the service until we improve the service,” he said.

One of the challenges is that transit is a partnership between the city and B.C. Transit, a provincial agency.

“It’s really a matter of cost,” said Nicol, adding that the provincial budget is a critical component.