New bus on route for handyDart in Lake Country

Lake Country receiving a portion of some allotted extra hours for its handyDART service, beginning in September of 2017

  • Jul. 31, 2016 8:00 p.m.

Kevin Parnell

Black Press

The District of Lake Country will be receiving a portion of some allotted extra hours for its handyDART service, beginning in September of 2017.

Lake Country council approved a three-year B.C. Transit expansion plan at its recent meeting, including an extra 500 hours of service for handyDART. The service provides transportation from Lake Country into Kelowna for patients needing access to medical appointments in Kelowna.

According to BC Transit’s Drew Snider, the Memorandum of Understanding between Lake Country and transit means one additional handyDART bus to deliver those hours.

“That’s a good thing that’s going to occur in September of next year,” said Lake Country Coun. Bill Scarrow. “We as a council could do more…apply for more hours. I think it could be improved. There are people left waiting for four to six hours in Kelowna, waiting for handyDART to come and pick them up.”

Lake Country Mayor James Baker said the expansion plans from B.C. Transit should help the situation with handyDART users.

“HandyDART is organized as a Central Okanagan function so we won’t get all of the 500 hours but we will get our share,” said Baker. “That will give us another driver and longer hours so that we can get people to their appointments and back in a more timely manner.”

Baker noted that the changes still need to be approved by B.C. Transit and won’t take place until September of 2017.

In B.C. Transit’s presentation to Lake Country council, the organization also noted a few other expansion plans for Lake Country, including an expansion of the peak service hours for bus number 23, which goes between Lake Country and Kelowna, as well as the possibility of expanding the route for bus number 32, which currently services the Lakes subdivision.

The change to route 23 would move it to every 15 minutes in the morning peak period (it currently runs at 20 – 30-minute intervals). That plan is still subject to finer planning work over the next year or so.

“Right now the 32 just runs to the Lakes and back, but we’re looking at it more like a community bus that would do a loop around the community,” said Baker. “We will work with regional transit to look at options and routes that could be achieved without disrupting the services we already have.”