Transit outpacing capacity

Kelowna's transit service is expanding to the point where its current bus yards can't handle much more growth.

The city hopes to have that rectified within five years.

During a discussion on expansion plans for the coming year, transit manager Jerry Dombowski was asked about capacity to handle the future expansion of 5,000 service hours, as well as an additional 1,800 hours coming on-stream in September.

Dombowski says the city is working with BC Transit on an application for a Canada Infrastructure Program grant for construction of a new bus yard.

"We would expect to have a project in-stream, coming back to you shortly with some site information, and essentially to be in a position to have a new facility up and running within a five-year time frame," said Dombowski.

In order to handle the pressure over the next few years, Dombowski says the city spent $350,000 to "band-aid the existing facility.

"That gave us a few extra years life until that grant program is in place.

"BC Transit has also undertaken a feasibility analysis. That will tell us what we have for expansion for the next few years until that project is complete."

The bus yard is presently at the end of Hardy Street.

As for service in the upcoming year, council had already approved the addition of 1,800 service hours to begin in September. Transit co-ordinator Mike Kittmer says all of those hours will be allotted to the 8 University route.

The mid-day and Sunday afternoon are exceeding peak times with 60 riders per trip, necessitating the expansion.

"Addressing the need for increased mid-day service on weekdays will require all of the 1,800 expansion hours, as well as an additional 550 hours proposed to be recovered from under performing trips on Route 15," said Kittmer.

"Current data indicates service provided on the 8 on Saturday's is in excess of what is required to meet demand. Therefore, reallocation of a small portion of service hours on Saturday are proposed to be shifted to Sunday to better manage demand over the course of the weekend."

Increased service between the university and Academy Way, and the rerouting of the Number 4 through Rutland will both be addressed during a future expansion.

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