Vernon and Coldstream will be expanding bus routes in the North Okanagan communities

Bus service to expand

Bus service in Vernon and Coldstream is being expanded.

And so is the cost of adding extra transit hours.

At their regular council meeting Monday, staff will recommend civic leaders confirm its authorization, in principle for the addition of 3,160 conventional transit service hours per year for the new local transit network Route 10 – Middleton Mountain and additional statutory holiday service starting September 2024.

Staff is also recommending council authorize, in principle, the addition of 780 custom transit service hours per year to provide Sunday and statutory holiday service starting September 2024.

The report states the conventional transit expansions (new Route 10 and new statutory holiday service) were originally scheduled to start in September 2022, but were postponed multiple times because the provincial budget did not accommodate any service expansions. BC Transit is proposing the transit service expansions start in September 2024.

The cost of operating the new Middleton Mountain route is $210,684, with the expense being split between Coldstream and Vernon.

Vernon will pay $103,066 while Coldstream will pay slightly more at $107,617.

However, Vernon will pay the lion's share of the additional statutory holiday service for routes one through nine.

Of the $29,803 expense, Vernon will pay $27,529 with Coldstream picking up the remaining $2,273.

Currently, Route 1 has holiday service on Canada Day and Remembrance Day only, while Routes 2 to 9 also have holiday service on Easter Monday, Victoria Day, BC Day and Labour Day.

The additional 560 statutory holiday service hours would ensure Route 1 has the same holiday service as Routes 2 to 9 (and future Route 10) and would introduce new holiday service on all routes to match typical Sunday service on New Year's Day, Family Day, Good Friday, Truth & Reconciliation Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

The full report can be found on the City of Vernon online agenda.

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