Transit exchange study

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Residents and transit riders in Kelowna and the Central Okanagan are invited to get involved in a Kelowna transit exchange study.

Public feedback will inform the design process so that the project team understands what transit exchange features are most important and what could be improved.

Please read the background information below or proceed to the survey.

Purpose of the study

The City of Kelowna, in partnership with BC Transit, has begun a transit exchange study to identify potential improvements to four transit facilities in Kelowna, including the Midtown / Orchard Park Exchange, Mission Recreation Exchange, Rutland Exchange, and Kelowna Airport Transit Station. Through public and stakeholder engagement and technical studies, potential improvements to enhance the facilities at each of these locations will be identified.

Potential improvements will meet several common goals, including the following.

  • Support future transit service expansion to align with increased ridership
  • Support improved transit access through diverse transportation options such as park and rides and mobility hubs
  • Improve interactions between transit buses, vehicles, pedestrian and bicyclists
  • Enhance customer and bus operator convenience, comfort and safety

Project considerations

As part of the study, each transit exchange will be individually evaluated so that design options for potential improvements meet several goals, outlined below.

Midtown / Orchard Park Exchange

  • Support future transit service expansion
  • Improve transit operational efficiency and reduce transit delay
  • Integrate of all modes including transit on Cooper Road (Enterprise Way to Springfield Road)
  • Provide operational/routing flexibility for transit on Cooper Road
  • Minimize bus conflict with motor vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists
  • Enhance customer and operator convenience, comfort and safety
  • Preserve or enhance connectivity to the Harvey Avenue/Cooper Road Rapid Bus stations
  • Support formalizing occupancy rights for the exchange and enhance the integration of transit with the surrounding land uses

Mission Recreation Exchange

  • Improve transit operational efficiency and reduce operating costs associated with serving the facility
  • Improve competitiveness of transit by reducing overall transit travel times for trips passing through the exchange
  • Mitigate conflicts between transit vehicles and all other uses occurring on the broader site
  • Support future transit expansion and provide operational/routing flexibility
  • Enhance customer and operator convenience, comfort and safety
  • Balance the needs of transit with those of the broader site considering safety, parking, pedestrian access to facilities, site servicing needs and other factors

Rutland Exchange

  • Expand the reach of public transit through modal-integration such as park & ride, ride share, micro-mobility and active transportation
  • Support efficient, effective system management and enhance bus operator working conditions
  • Extend streetscaping elements east between Asher Road and Roxby Road and explore expansion of exchange capacity to accommodate future service growth

Kelowna Airport Transit Station

  • Support the vision for future enhanced transit services to the airport
  • Improve transit operational efficiency and routing flexibility
  • Improve the competitiveness of transit by reducing overall transit travel times for trips passing through or ending at the airport
  • Enhance customer access, comfort and safety, as well as multi-modal integration
  • Mitigate conflicts between transit vehicles and all other modes operating within the broader site

Transit service in Kelowna

Transit exchange improvements are one of many steps being taken to improve service and connections throughout the region. The Okanagan Gateway Study, for example, coordinated alongside the draft Regional Transportation Plan, identifies future projects, programs and policies that will improve connections to Kelowna International Airport and UBC Okanagan.

The Kelowna Regional Transit System is the third largest system in the province, behind TransLink and the Victoria system. 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.

Residents and transit riders in Kelowna and the Central Okanagan are invited to get involved in a Kelowna transit exchange study.

Public feedback will inform the design process so that the project team understands what transit exchange features are most important and what could be improved.

Please read the background information below or proceed to the survey.

Purpose of the study

The City of Kelowna, in partnership with BC Transit, has begun a transit exchange study to identify potential improvements to four transit facilities in Kelowna, including the Midtown / Orchard Park Exchange, Mission Recreation Exchange, Rutland Exchange, and Kelowna Airport Transit Station. Through public and stakeholder engagement and technical studies, potential improvements to enhance the facilities at each of these locations will be identified.

Potential improvements will meet several common goals, including the following.

  • Support future transit service expansion to align with increased ridership
  • Support improved transit access through diverse transportation options such as park and rides and mobility hubs
  • Improve interactions between transit buses, vehicles, pedestrian and bicyclists
  • Enhance customer and bus operator convenience, comfort and safety

Project considerations

As part of the study, each transit exchange will be individually evaluated so that design options for potential improvements meet several goals, outlined below.

Midtown / Orchard Park Exchange

  • Support future transit service expansion
  • Improve transit operational efficiency and reduce transit delay
  • Integrate of all modes including transit on Cooper Road (Enterprise Way to Springfield Road)
  • Provide operational/routing flexibility for transit on Cooper Road
  • Minimize bus conflict with motor vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists
  • Enhance customer and operator convenience, comfort and safety
  • Preserve or enhance connectivity to the Harvey Avenue/Cooper Road Rapid Bus stations
  • Support formalizing occupancy rights for the exchange and enhance the integration of transit with the surrounding land uses

Mission Recreation Exchange

  • Improve transit operational efficiency and reduce operating costs associated with serving the facility
  • Improve competitiveness of transit by reducing overall transit travel times for trips passing through the exchange
  • Mitigate conflicts between transit vehicles and all other uses occurring on the broader site
  • Support future transit expansion and provide operational/routing flexibility
  • Enhance customer and operator convenience, comfort and safety
  • Balance the needs of transit with those of the broader site considering safety, parking, pedestrian access to facilities, site servicing needs and other factors

Rutland Exchange

  • Expand the reach of public transit through modal-integration such as park & ride, ride share, micro-mobility and active transportation
  • Support efficient, effective system management and enhance bus operator working conditions
  • Extend streetscaping elements east between Asher Road and Roxby Road and explore expansion of exchange capacity to accommodate future service growth

Kelowna Airport Transit Station

  • Support the vision for future enhanced transit services to the airport
  • Improve transit operational efficiency and routing flexibility
  • Improve the competitiveness of transit by reducing overall transit travel times for trips passing through or ending at the airport
  • Enhance customer access, comfort and safety, as well as multi-modal integration
  • Mitigate conflicts between transit vehicles and all other modes operating within the broader site

Transit service in Kelowna

Transit exchange improvements are one of many steps being taken to improve service and connections throughout the region. The Okanagan Gateway Study, for example, coordinated alongside the draft Regional Transportation Plan, identifies future projects, programs and policies that will improve connections to Kelowna International Airport and UBC Okanagan.

The Kelowna Regional Transit System is the third largest system in the province, behind TransLink and the Victoria system. 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.

If you have any questions about this project, please ask it here. A member of the project team will get back to you as soon as possible. Please note that questions are reviewed and answered during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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    Why are we not enforcing wearing face masks on buses right now? As a senior who takes the bus sometimes i find it disturbing to get on a fully loaded bus with mostly young people and 95% are not wearing a mask.

    Dorothy asked 3 months ago

    BC Transit is following the direction of the Provincial Medical Health Officer. Masks are highly recommended on board. You can learn more about the multitude of measures taken by BC Transit here:

    https://www.bctransit.com/covid-19/bus-etiquette

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    When are you going to start acknowledging that there is a substantial tax base in the Upper Mission, that are paying significant taxes, and recieving very poor access to transportation through Kelownas transit system. Kelowna transit should be offering riders an express bus from Mission exchange to Orchard Park mall. From there the riders can catch the express to UBCO as well. From your survey 1/2 the respondants use the Mission exchange. Plus you need a better way of soliciting opinion from the residents of Kelowna. A response of 69 in a community of 142,000 residents is a pathetic response. Bussing services need to improve to take the burden off of the traffic in outlying areas like upper mission, and crawford. The service needs to be available to attract ridership. Not the other way around.

    Maggie asked 4 months ago

    Hi Maggie,

    The Upper Mission is served by three coverage bus routes, the #16 Kettle Valley, #17 Southridge and #15 Crawford. Routes 16 and 17 have a greater level of service than all other coverage bus routes in the city. These routes are also some of the stronger performing coverage routes which helps them to consistently meet minimum ridership standards. The #15 route however has had consistently low ridership for many years. These routes converge on Mission Exchange where riders have a choice of two major core transit routes for travel north - the #1 Lakeshore and #5 Gordon (introduced in 2014). Both of these routes connect to the 97 Rapid Bus line and various other core routes. 

    While travel to UBCO from the Upper Mission requires two transfers, there is not sufficient population and therefore demand to add more services to the Mission area however restructuring of existing services may be considered in the future. Through the Transportation Master Plan, currently in development, various transit investments are being explored for the forthcoming 20 year time frame. The outcome of this planning exercise will feed into more detailed Local Area Transit Plans which will be developed in partnership with BC Transit. The Mission area north to downtown is likely to be a focus of one of these plans. The current Transit Future Action Plan  which details service investments under consideration in the near to mid-term, proposes changes to services in the Upper and Lower Mission. I encourage you to review the plan. 

    In regards to engagement, we typically host in-person engagement sessions in conjunction with an online presence. We have had change strategies due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation. The focus of this project is to solicit input from residents regarding four specific major transit facilities so that when upgraded in the future, they are able to accommodate service growth and be comfortable, safe and convenient for users. 

    Regards,


    Mike Kittmer

    Transit Service Coordinator

    City of Kelowna 

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    Transit service. - Will Wilden area be considered in the near future for any services, significant population and tax contribution but zero transit to utilize Kelowna.

    Paul Burgess asked 4 months ago

    Mr. Burgess,

    One of the key challenges in planning transit services is how best to allocate resources between routes in the central parts of the community (the Transit Core area), which account for roughly 90% of transit use in Kelowna, and expanding service to new outlying areas as the city grows (Transit Coverage areas). 

    Currently we are focused on managing the significant ridership growth we have been experiencing on major routes that service the Transit Core. Capacity constraints at the regional transit operating centre are compounding the challenge of meeting demand which had grown 15% in the two years leading up to early 2020. The facility is operating at capacity and no additional buses can be added to the system until a secondary facility can be brought on-line. BC Transit and City staff are urgently pursuing a resolution to this issue. Once this matter has been addressed and, as resources come available, priority will be placed on ensuring that existing routes in the transit system are functioning effectively ahead of expanding services to new areas. 

    Coverage areas that are not served today will be considered for new service when resources permit, and only when the combined population and employment is deemed sufficient to generate a level of ridership that ensures services are able to meet current minimum performance standards. When considering new Coverage services, prospective new service areas would then compete with others where transit is not provided today but may also be warranted. While a small pocket of residential density in the area of Rio Drive off of Clifton Road is close to meeting minimum population levels to potentially support transit, population density must be realized across a contiguous area where a route would operate. As development continues at sites along Clifton Road and in the area of Upper Union Road this may improve the viability of a transit in the area. Should a service be considered in the future, it is unlikely that it would extend over the given the lower densities in the upper neighborhoods and the challenging terrain and road network. In regards to existing Coverage transit services in the city, some areas that are served by transit today would not likely qualify for services if not already in place based upon current standards. Areas with lower population density that have have transit service today tend to chronically under perform (ridership is low). 

    The Transit Future Action Plan details at a high level prospective investments and priorities over the 10 year horizon - 2018-2028. This plan indicates that investment in new Coverage bus routes will be considered in the 3-5 year horizon however, the plan does not specifically state which neighborhoods will be considered for new transit service. Future planning exercises and public consultation would serve to determine candidate areas through the lens of the Central Okanagan Transit Service Guidelines. In the future, should conditions become favorable for introductory transit service and when other pressing service investment priorities have been addressed, proposals may be brought forward to City Council for consideration. 

    Regards,

    Mike Kittmer

    Transit Service Coordinator

    City of Kelowna

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    When will we have a direct link rapid bus going from Mission Rec to Orchard Park onward to UBCO. Currently it takes students over 1.5 hours to travel by bus from their home in the mission to the uni. That's why they drive!!!

    Peter W17 asked 4 months ago

    Hi Peter,

    The closest service to what you describe that is in place today is route 4 Pandosy-UBCO. It operates on weekdays between Pandosy Town Centre and UBCO. There are no  plans currently to extend this route to Mission Rec Exchange or to introduce a new route that originates at Mission Exchange and routes directly to UBCO. 

    Today, riders coming from the Lower Mission can ride either route 1 Lakeshore or 5 Gordon to link to the 97 Okanagan Rapid Bus route for trips to UBCO. Route 5 also links to route 4 at in the Gordon Drive/KLO Road area. 

    Your suggestion is an interesting one for consideration during future network planning exercises.

    Regards,

    Mike Kittmer

    Transit Service Coordinator

    City of Kelowna

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    Is there a reason why #90 cannot pickup and drop off passengers on Chrystal Waters Road in Lake Country on route to Vernon and on the return to Kelowna to pick up passengers on Rawsthorne Road

    Samlio asked 4 months ago

    Hi Samlio,

    Route 90 is operated out of he Vernon Regional Transit System. The City of Vernon decides where this route makes stops and does so in collaboration with partners such as the District of Lake Country. I encourage you to share your suggestion with Vernon and BC Transit staff by visiting https://www.bctransit.com/contact/general-inquiries 

    Thank you for sharing your suggestion and for taking part in the survey.

    Mike Kittmer

    Transit Service Coordinator

    City of Kelowna

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    What is your goal for transit? What are you contributing to lessening the 80,000 cars going over the bridge daily? 50,000 over the next 20 years? I am sorry, not a very good goal. You want to increase ridership by 5,000 a year every year. The city is going to collapse on cars beforehand.

    Claude Desmarais asked 4 months ago

    Hi Claude,

    Traffic congestion is certainly a challenge in our region that is expected to have significant population growth. The City has and continues to invest in transit and active transportation and to trial and advocate for new mobility options. Ridership on the Kelowna Regional Transit System had grown by over 15% over the two years leading up to early this year reaching about 6 million rides a year so we are moving in the right direction.

    Transit is expected to play a growing role in people’s daily travels as outlined in the new Official Community Plan and Transportation Master Plan, both in development now. For it to do so, we must prepare our facilities to support increased service levels and new routes. That’s the focus of this study. Regarding bridge traffic, within the Regional Transportation Master Plan (also in development now) there are unique proposals to prioritize transit across the bridge.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your comments and concerns and for participating in the survey.

    Mike Kittmer

    Transit Service Coordinator

    City of Kelowna