City seeking input on potential transit exchange improvements

07 July, 2020

Residents and transit riders in Kelowna and the Central Okanagan are invited to share input on potential improvements at four transit exchange facilities in Kelowna.

The City of Kelowna, in partnership with BC Transit, has begun a transit exchange study that will identify opportunities to enhance facilities at the Midtown / Orchard Park Exchange, Rutland Exchange, Mission Recreation Exchange, and the Kelowna Airport Transit Station. As part of the study, the City is conducting an online public survey to better understand what transit exchange features are important and what could be improved.

“An essential service in our community, transit represents a key component of Kelowna’s transportation and growth strategy to support future population growth, which is expected to increase by 50,000 people over the next 20 years,” said Mike Kittmer, Transit Services Coordinator with the City of Kelowna. “As we continue to improve and expand transit service, it’s important that we hear from those who are impacted, including current and future transit riders, nearby businesses and surrounding property owners.”

Transit is also critical to economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Central Okanagan has seen a decrease in transit ridership since March as a result of COVID-19, the City and BC Transit continue to monitor the pandemic’s impacts and plan for short- and long-term recovery.

“Our top priority is delivering service our customers can rely on, and we’re always striving to make BC Transit more accessible and enjoyable,” said Erinn Pinkerton, President and CEO of BC Transit. “We look forward to hearing from people in Kelowna and the Central Okanagan, as we work with the City to make taking transit an even easier option for people.”

Since 2010, Kelowna transit service has expanded by 20 per cent, while ridership has grown by approximately 40 per cent during the same timeframe. The transit study will identify design options for potential future improvements that meet several goals, including:

  • Supporting future transit service expansion to align with increased ridership;
  • Supporting improved transit access through diverse transportation options such as park and rides and mobility hubs;
  • Improving interactions between transit buses, vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists; and
  • Enhancing rider and bus operator convenience, comfort and safety.

“We’ve chosen these four locations to be included in the study because they serve high-demand transit routes and present the greatest opportunity to grow ridership in Kelowna,” said Kittmer. “Because transit changes and improvements are most successful when we can consider feedback from the public, we strongly encourage community members to get involved.”

The Kelowna Regional Transit System is the third largest system in the province, behind Translink and the Victoria system. Through public and stakeholder engagement and technical studies, potential improvements will be identified to enhance the facilities at these four transit locations. Conceptual design options are expected to be complete this fall, with future construction dependent on external funding and budget availability.

To share feedback on any of the four transit exchanges, please visit getinvolved.kelowna.ca and complete the survey by Sunday, July 19. To learn more about BC Transit’s COVID-19 recovery plan, please visit bctransit.com/covid19.

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