Vernon transit exchange prepares for service

The new transit exchange at 31st Avenue and 30th Street in downtown Vernon will start operating April 29.

A new era in public transit is on course.

The new transit exchange at 31st Avenue and 30th Street will start operating April 29.

“It’s a central location and in the downtown core,” said Amanda Watson, a city transportation technician.

“It has a park there and links to everywhere.”

The new terminus — which will be the hub for all buses in the region — will replace the current facility on Coldstream Avenue.

Among the highlights will be new shelters, improved lighting, wider sidewalks and a curb that allows the disabled to access buses easier.

There will be spaces for seven buses at one time.

The total project cost was $500,000, with 47 per cent coming from the provincial B.C. Transit.

Also on April 29, an expanded bus schedule will be unveiled in Vernon.

From Monday to Thursday, buses will run about an hour later. As an example, the last bus for the East Hill route will be 7:21 p.m. instead of 6:30 p.m. while it will be 7:18 p.m. instead of 6:30 p.m. for the Okanagan Landing route.

“People who finish the 7 p.m. shift at work will be able to take the last bus home,” said Watson.

On Fridays and Saturdays, the last bus will be after 9 p.m. in many cases.

“Residents will be able to go for an early evening meal, shopping or go to a movie,” said Watson.

“A lot of workers are done at 9 p.m. and this will help them too.”

New riders’ guides have been published and the new schedule will also be available at vernon.ca.

The new schedule’s goal is to encourage more residents to park their vehicles and catch the bus.

“We will look at a marketing campaign to engage people,” said Watson.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the transit exchange will be held Friday.