Brian Anderson (left)

Brian Anderson (left)

Public input on transit driving ahead

Transit Future Bus making local stops seeking input on transit plan

Planning for the North Okanagan’s future transit needs is so important, the process is going to residents.

The Transit Future Bus will seek input on the region’s 25-year transit plan at a number of locations until Oct. 31.

“It’s about ensuring the system evolves and keeps up with demand,” said Brian Anderson, B.C. Transit vice-president.

The Transit Future Bus is a 40-foot decommissioned bus that includes a variety of displays. Participants are asked to fill out a survey.

The Transit Future Bus will be at Vernon’s Schubert Centre today from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and then at Wesbild Centre, prior to the Vipers game, from 5 to 7 p.m.

On Saturday, it will be at the Pumpkin Festival in Armstrong from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and then on Sunday, it will be at Sheardown’s in Lumby from 10 a.m. to noon.

The Vernon Farmers Market will host the bus Monday from 8 a.m. to noon. The bus then travels to the Village Green Centre Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and then on Wednesday, it will be at the Coldstream Farmers Market, 9901 Kalamalka Rd., from 2 to 6 p.m.

The first stop was at the local Okanagan College campus Thursday.

“Many students use transit to get here,” said Jane Lister, campus dean, adding that some challenges exist.

“There is an issue with evening classes and the bus services and there are discussions trying to find solutions.”

North Okanagan residents are being encouraged to take the time and participate in the planning process.

“If you are not using transit, we want to know why,” said Maria Besso, a Coldstream councillor, adding that the focus of the initiative is trying to develop sustainable communities.

All possible enhancements to the service could be considered including park-and-ride lots and accommodating cyclists also using transit.

But Besso insists  that local governments and B.C. Transit cannot do everything.

“The needs and wants need to be balanced with the financial resources,” she said.

Planners hope residents will provide them with extensive detail about the future of the service.

“Where will residents be living and working long-term,” said Amanda Watson, a transportation technician with the City of Vernon.

“There may be things they point out to us.”