Free bus route proposal delayed

Idea to increase ridership of Enderby and Lumby to Vernon transit routes

A proposal for a one-year pilot project to offer free transit service for two cross-region bus routes to encourage more ridership has hit a roadblock.

The Regional District of North Okanagan board opted to refer the issue back for further discussion after concerns were raised by several directors.

The two bus routes would be #60 route from Enderby to Vernon and #61 route from Lumby to Vernon.

Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund said he had concerns that some people might get free rides and others may not depending on where they boarded the bus.

“If that is what we are talking about here, I think that raises some serious issues,” Mund said.

Related: Transit routes under review

Director Catherine Lord, who like Mund represents the City of Vernon on the board, agreed with the mayor, saying the pilot project needs more thought given to it before being implemented.

The recommendation to proceed with it was forwarded to the board from the regional transit review committee.

Lumby Mayor Kevin Acton didn’t speak to the resolution at the board meeting, but stated Lumby’s position at the committee meeting, that since transit is heavily funded through taxation, his village council was supportive of consideration for a major reduction to the Route 61 fare charged to encourage increased ridership.

David Sewell, chief administrative officer for RDNO, said waiving the $2.50 transit fee was intended to generate more ridership, with the cost off-set by a $335,000 transit reserve fund.

He cautioned that the free ridership on routes 60 and 61 would not carry over when bus transfers are required to carry on to other jurisdictions.

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