B.C. Transit has spent considerable time developing a long-term vision for transit in the North Okanagan.
But it’s obvious from a recent presentation to the District of Coldstream, that some practical issues have been left on the sidelines.
Specifically, Coun. Richard Enns questions why a lot of Coldstream residents can’t directly access the Okanagan College campus, which will include a sports complex this fall, by bus.
“They must take the No. 1, go in (to downtown Vernon), exchange and come back,” he said.
That indirect route adds significant time to someone attending classes or working at the college so they use their car instead. And the current schedule will also likely deter any individuals wanting to use the sports complex once it’s open.
A more reasonable strategy would be for transit buses to go up College Way, off Kalamalka Road, which provides a direct route to the college. It would save considerable time and encourage Coldstream residents to use the bus, and as Enns suggests, perhaps small buses could be used to make this route more viable.
One item that’s highlighted in B.C. Transit’s vision is ultimately having a park and ride service at Okanagan College for those passengers taking the bus to UBC or into Kelowna. At this point, it is a mid-term goal but Coun. Maria Besso is right when she says there is a need for the infrastructure right now.
If there was a convenient place for people to park their vehicles, they would be more inclined to hop on the bus for points south. Instead, if they can’t find a parking spot, they will just keep driving to Kelowna, which undermines the benefits transit create for the environment.
B.C. Transit deserves praise for showing some long-term vision when it comes to transit, but it’s critical that more is done.