Transit route frustrates Coldstream students

College students living in Coldstream are spending too much time watching the wheels on the bus go round just trying to get to class...

College students living in Coldstream are spending too much time watching the wheels on the bus go round just trying to get to class.

The ride from Coldstream to Okanagan College shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes.

But because of how BC Transit routes the service, the ride takes closer to an hour.

“Currently the routes offered means a lengthy bus ride and a transfer from downtown which seems highly unnecessary,” Jacqueline Correia wrote in a letter to Coldstream.

She is concerned about the two hours a day her son will have to spend on the bus when he starts a trades course this month.

“For example a wait at the bus stop on Kalamalka Road, then the bus ride downtown, the transfer and eventual arrival at the college would take about one hour or more when really it should not take more than 15 minutes. lt is not practical for anyone, parents or students.”

Mayor Jim Garlick agrees: “It’s a roundabout way of getting anywhere.”

A better route from Coldstream to Okanagan College is on the district’s radar – using the new College Way (Grid Road).

But BC Transit has operational concerns with the grade of the road.

“It is not recommended to proceed with the introduction of a new route at this stage. Further investigation in to the safety and ridership demand would be encouraged prior to any further consideration,” reads the Vernon Regional Transit review.

Considering all the large trucks using the road, several local politicians can’t understand how College Way could prove a problem for a bus.

Coldstream is increasingly frustrated with BC Transit, not only with how routes are made, but the amount they pay for a service they aren’t entirely pleased with.

Coldstream’s transit costs were $70,753 in 2011, up from $17,936 in 2006. One main factor in the cost increase over the years was the addition of the UBC connector in 2008.

The 2011 number will rise significantly for 2012 to $109,375 as the costs for the new transit facility are applied.

Coldstream pays 25 per cent of the HandyDart costs, which were $76,427 in 2011. Coldstream’s share is expected to drop to 19 per cent in 2012,  estimated to be $71,445.

BC Transit is currently reviewing the regional service and several changes are proposed, some of which Coldstream is not on board with:

  • a new conventional transit route between the Vernon exchange and Okanagan College, via Middleton Mountain and College Way;
  • removal of combined Sunday routes, to be replaced with weekday routes, and extension of evening service to 9:15 on route one Coldstream and route six college;
  • doubling the frequency of route one Coldstream in order to provide 30-minute service from the existing 60-minute service.