The stories almost have urban myth status.
If we haven’t actually met the individual in person, we have all heard of a student waiting in line to go from Vernon to the Univerity of B.C. campus in Kelowna. The bus comes, the doors open, students climb aboard and climb aboard to the point that every last inch is filled. Some students are left sitting on the roadside with no way of heading south to their classes.
Now it should be pointed out that politicians and taxpayers haven’t been ignorning the needs of students or others pursuing public transport to Kelowna. After all, there are two buses running up and down Highway 97 and that comes with a steep price.
But given the current circumstances, there’s no question that more needs to be done.
First, it’s not safe to have standing-room only on vehicles whizzing along at high rates of speed. Secondly, it’s not fair to offer a service and yet potential users are left behind. And thirdly, if the service is not dependable, people will start driving to UBC and that defeats the original goal of transit to remove single-occupancy vehicles from the road.
Director Rob Sawatzky has suggested that the regional district tweak the schedule in the hopes that additional occupancy can be generated without hiking costs. While that is ideal, it may be unrealistic and taxpayers may have to bite the bullet and provide the resources for a third bus.
There is no easy solution, but compared to other bus routes that are virtually empty, the high-demand UBC function is a nice challenge to actually contend with.