Transit service marks first year

From November to August, the scheduled Summerland bus service has carried 6,925 passengers.

Representatives from B.C. Transit and local politicians rode the bus on Friday morning as Summerland’s scheduled bus service celebrated its first year of service.

The service began on Oct. 28, 2013.

From November to August, the bus service has carried 6,925 passengers.

“In just a year, regular scheduled transit has become an important service for Summerland residents,” said Dan Ashton, MLA for the riding of Penticton.

At present, the service averages 5.2 rides per hour, well above expectations from B.C. Transit officials. On its busiest day, the Summerland service had 61 passengers.

“It’s around 33 per cent higher than what we see in a new system” said Manuel Achadinha, president and CEO of B.C. Transit, adding that Summerland’s passenger figures are closer to those of systems in place for five years or longer.

“We are pleased to see how quickly customers in Summerland have rallied around public transit,” Achadinha said. “We will continue to work with our partners in Summerland to ensure transit is the efficient and effective choice for both local service and the commute to Penticton.”

At present, the service runs Monday to Friday. The first bus leaves Summerland for Penticton at 7:15 a.m. The last bus leaves Penticton at 5:15 p.m.

Expansions to the service, including evening and weekend buses, have been mentioned, but Achadinha said the decisions on expansion are made by the municipality, not B.C. Transit.