Gavin Onsorge (left) and Emma Eggert are congratulated for their art and poetry by B.C. Transit president Manuel Achadinha during a ceremony at the new transit terminus on 31st Avenue Friday.

Gavin Onsorge (left) and Emma Eggert are congratulated for their art and poetry by B.C. Transit president Manuel Achadinha during a ceremony at the new transit terminus on 31st Avenue Friday.

Transit a hit with the kids

Vernon Christian School students play active role in opening new transit exchange

The next generation has a message for all of the adults out there: reduce your impact on the environment.

Vernon Christian School students played an active role in the ceremonial opening of the  new transit exchange on 31st Avenue Friday.

“We are the future of Vernon and the future riders of transit,” said Madison Overend, a Grade 5 student who acted as master of ceremonies with Mayor Rob Sawatzky.

In adjacent Cenotaph Park, students’ posters and poems were on display.

“Every student worked hard to reflect the importance of transit,” said Overend.

Three students were recognized for their creativity: Gavin Onsorge in Grade 3, Emma Eggert in Grade 4 and Clare Thiessen in Grade 7.

Thiessen’s drawing will be on the cover of the 2013 transit rider’s guide.

B.C. Transit officials were pleased with the students involvement in the ceremony and promoting public transit.

“It inspires me,” said president Manuel Achadinha.

“It shows me that the kids are looking to the future.”

The new terminus will be the hub of all transit service in Vernon and the North Okanagan.

It includes six shelters and expanded lighting for passengers.

There are seven sawtooth bays so each bus can act independently.

At the current exchange on Coldstream Avenue, parallel parked buses had to wait for the slower loading vehicles to move first in order to clear a path.

Besides the new terminus, which officially goes into service April 29 — there is an expanded transit schedule.

A total of 2,800 new service hours are being added.

On routes two through seven, there will be additional trips Monday to Thursday until about 7:20 p.m.

On Friday and Saturday, bus runs will end at about 9:15 p.m. to accommodate shopping or people going out for dinner or to a movie.

“This will better serve residents now and in the future,” said Sawatzky.

Eric Foster, Vernon-Monashee MLA, believes the transit service is evolving because of demands from local residents.

“When transit works. for people, they use it,” he said.