UBC transit jam-packed

Demand is overwhelming a transit route and that has officials scrambling to find options.

Demand is overwhelming a transit route and that has officials scrambling to find options.

The Regional District of North Okanagan is under pressure because both buses connecting Vernon to the University of B.C.’s Kelowna campus are frequently full.

“Many of the bus runs are standing room only and in some cases, they are over-capacity and they must leave people at bus stops,” David Sewell, chief financial officer, told the board Wednesday.

“Safety is a primary concern. There is some concern that even standing on the bus from Vernon to Kelowna is inappropriate.”

Among the possible options for addressing overcrowding are rescheduling runs to even-out passengers or acquiring a third bus. But another vehicle can’t just be unilaterally added by RDNO.

“B.C. Transit must be able to provide a bus and its 46 per cent share of funding (for operations),” said Sewell.

Besides students going to UBC, the transit service is also used by people working and shopping in Kelowna or wanting to get to the airport. There are also stops in Lake Country.

“Even if we have additional service, we could still have that issue,” said director Patrick Nicol of crowded conditions.

Director Wayne Lippert is pleased with the Vernon to Kelowna route since it began a couple of years ago, and he says it has made it easier for local students to access a university education.

“It’s very popular and demand is increasing,” he said.

“Sixty vehicles a day are off the road because of that bus.”