As of this Monday, residents and visitors to the Okanagan will soon have another transportation option.
The announcement of a new shuttle service from Osoyoos to Kelowna International Airport, with 10 community stops along the way, was made Friday morning at the Nk'mip Resort in Osoyoos.
"Having a regular scheduled transportation link between Osoyoos and Kelowna is something we have needed for years," said South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce President Myers Bennett. "Tourists flying into Kelowna and Penticton airports have been looking for an easy way to come and stay at our resorts and our residents have wanted more than one time option during the day to connect to our neighbouring communities and airports for appointments and flights."
It was late last year that Okanagan-based organizations joined together to provide travellers with improved transportation options to the two airports.
Let's Go! Transportation was ultimately awarded the contract to provide the service that includes four round-trips from Osoyoos to the Kelowna airport, with the community stops at specific pick-up and drop off times and locations.
Let's Go! co-owner Birgit Santana said they plan to give customers the best in customer experience and a value-added experience when they step on the shuttles.
Others in attendance including Osoyoos Mayor Stu Wells, MLA Linda Larson, MP Kelowna-Lake Country Ron Cannan and Air Canada and Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association representatives praised the effort and spoke of the economic opportunities it should bring to the region.
Kevin Howlett, senior vice president regional markets with Air Canada, said they were very happy to be there to celebrate the launch of a new service that will provide the opportunity to connect the whole South Okanagan like it has never been connected before.
"We are delighted to work together with the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce, the Thompson Okanagan Tourist Association and Kelowna Airport to promote an efficient and economical shuttle service for our customers flying in and out of the Okanagan Valley," he said. "Air Canada's flights from Kelowna and Penticton all connect with our extensive worldwide network from our Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto hubs."
Many were quick to praise the efforts of Robert Linttell, the transportation chair of the Chamber of Commerce, who worked tirelessly to make the shuttle service a reality.
"This is a summation of a great deal of team work with organizations and teams," he said. "We've been working for months on Air Canada involvement and saw that as a major advantage. We're delighted to see them as partners and this Monday the shuttle service actually starts."
Rates between Kelowna and Osoyoos are $45 one way or $30 from Penticton to Kelowna Airport.
For information on the South Okanagan Express Shuttle and other shuttle connections click here.