More than 250 people have signed a change.org petition launched by a UBC Okanagan Student.
Peyton Twardochleb is lobbying for better transit service to the community of Quail Ridge, where she lives.
She says other students and workers in the area are concerned about their safety because currently Kelowna Regional Transit buses only serve Quail Ridge between 7:15 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. on weekdays. For students who have classes later in the evening, it means they have to walk home along a path through the woods.
“Most classes on UBCO campus, I think the latest class is about 8, so for students that could mean a 9:30 p.m. finish. Of course, with the time change it’s pretty dark by five o’clock so it’s difficult for students to try to commute in the dark,” explains Twardochleb.
She has reached out to the university about providing safe walk services, but even though part of the pathway is on UBCO property, the resource is not available for students who live in the Quail Ridge area.
She says the trail has no lightning and right now it’s covered in ice.
“That’s another concern that students have is that this trail isn’t maintained and they can’t see where they’re going, so the buses really need to be implemented so they aren’t forced to use that trail,” adds Twardochleb.
Walking around on the road isn’t a viable option because she says it’s about 4.5 kilometres from campus to her apartment building.
“And it’s a busy road. I’ve heard from other students that they don’t feel safe walking this road.
“There’s often cars that stop and try to talk to students, asking them if they need rides. People don’t feel safe being so open where there’s no houses, nowhere to stop for help if they need it.”
She has conducted an informal survey of her apartment complex and says about 60 per cent of residents are UBC Okanagan students.
Twardochleb has reached out to Kelowna Regional Transit, university officials and the UBCO student association. She hopes they will come to the table with options for a safer commute to Quail Ridge.
She also points out that it’s not just students who use transit in the community, saying other workers would benefit from extended transit hours.