Expanded transit demanded

Two separate delegations urged Vernon city council Monday to make immediate investments in bus service.

There’s pressure to expand transit in Vernon.

Two separate delegations urged city council Monday to make immediate investments in bus service.

“We have a commitment to transit and improving it,” said Mayor Rob Sawatzky.

“But we have to be financially responsible and there are a number of areas in the community that require better service.”

Resident Winnifred Hibbert presented council with a 3,191-name petition demanding that transit run from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week.

“Buses don’t run on holidays and they don’t run long on Sundays,” said Hibbert.

“We want the working crowd to get to work.”

Hibbert says it’s dangerous for people walking late at night because transit is not available.

“I hope you will listen before someone is injured on the way home in the dark,” she said.

Resident Larry Stowards asked council to extend  transit to include the top end of 43rd Avenue.

“It would meet the needs of students, the middle aged and the more elderly residents of the area,” he said.

Also on Monday, council received the draft North Okanagan Transit Future Plan, which looks at priorities for the next 25 years.

Among the short-term options (one to five years) are a new inner city loop, a new route from the Village Green Centre to downtown and a Middleton Mountain route.

Medium-term (six to 10 years) options range from more links to Kelowna to bus service to the Foothills and the Blue Jay subdivision.

Long-term (11 to 25 years) options include expanded evening and weekend service to Lumby and Enderby.

While expanding the service will depend on funding,  Coun. Patrick Nicol is hopeful some improvements can be made.

“Increased frequency gets you more customers,” he said.

A final Transit Future Plan document will be prepared by early 2014 at the latest