Penticton and South Okanagan
In the Vicinity? Take the bus
Oct 1, 2013 / 12:48 pm
A group of exuberant grade 5 students from Parkway Elementary School were the first to ride the Vicinity bus in Penticton on Tuesday.
The children were invited to board the bus as a kick off to the two new buses starting routes in the city next week.
"It was funner than being on a regular bus," said Ben Taylor, 9. "I mostly squealed with excitement the whole time."
Meribeth Burton, corporate spokeswoman for BC Transit, said they partnered with Parkway to unveil the bus in Penticton.
It is already on Nelson streets, and was slated to be in Kelowna on Tuesday afternoon. Other locations the bus will be used are Quesnel, Dawson Creek and the Central Fraser Valley.
The bus itself is medium duty, with low floors. It seats 23 people, but accommodates a total of 39, including those standing.
"It is really slick, very European," said Burton. "Which just means there is greater flexibility for carrying capacity and the type of ridership we see in Penticton."
Several local dignitaries, as well as BC Transit officials, were at the community centre to greet students as they disembarked.
"This is all about the future, your future," said Mayor Garry Litke. "We know climate change is a reality, so in Penticton we are trying really hard to establish a public transportation system, so people don't have to drive their cars."
Mike Davis, the vice president and COO for BC Transit, told the students their job as transit people is to try and find something that delivers to the community.
"We need smaller buses that consume less fuel and are easier to run," he said. "I hope you remember this trip. You will be able to say you were on the very first one in Penticton."
The busy morning also included recognition of the winners of a drawing contest held for the fifth graders at Parkway.
The pictures by three students, Jordan Picheniuk, Hannah Brown and Riley Adams, will now be in the next BC Transit Riders Guide in the city.
Picheniuk said riding on the Vicinity from Parkway to the community centre was a great experience.
"A couple of my friends and I all agreed that it felt like we were floating," he said. "It was very smooth, like riding on a hovercraft."
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