BC Transit plans to increase service within the Kelowna area by nearly 38,000 hours over the next three years.
City council will be asked to authorize the city to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the transit authority to proceed with that expansion.
A report from the city's transit department outlines the additions planned for the regional transit service through 2027 which would include 36,400 additional hours of service for conventional transit and 1,455 hours for HandyDART.
"Year-one includes initial investments stemming from the Rutland Local Area Transit Plan (LATP) and Mission
restructuring plan presented to council in June 2023 as well as on-demand service implementation in the Crawford neighbourhood," the report states.
"Year-two proposals include continued investment in the frequency of service provided during off-peak
service periods, expansion to the span of hours of service on major routes and further initiatives
stemming from the Rutland LATP."
The final year will see more investment within the Rutland and Mission areas.
In terms of HandyDART, the first year will focus on expansion of the taxi supplement program during peak hours.
Year two will include introduction of basic weekend custom service on Sundays with dedicated HandyDART vehicles while the third year will expand on weekday service to reflect conventional hours of operation.
According to staff, ridership has exceeded pre-pandemic levels. At the end of June, ridership was 111 per cent of pre-pandemic levels and 103 per cent at the end of July.
"Additional investment is needed to keep pace with demand and grow ridership," transit services co-ordinator Mike Kittmer says in his report.
Overall cost of providing the additional service is $4.6 million with Kelowna's share $1.732 million.
Other governments within the Kelowna Regional Transit system also contribute to the cost of the service.
The additional service will bring the system's annual service hours to 247,000 hours.