Since Summerland’s scheduled transit service was introduced last fall, the service has been well used.
The service was started at the end of October, less than eight months ago, but the number of riders is what B.C. Transit officials expect to see from a more established service.
The bus service provides an important transportation link for those who need to go into Penticton for medical appointments and services not available in Summerland.
It also provides a commuter option for those who live in Summerland but work in Penticton.
With an average of 580 riders each month, there is a demand for this service.
A transfer system is already in place so passengers on the Summerland bus have seamless access to Penticton’s buses to complete their trips.
The cost for the service from Summerland to Penticton is not cheap. For 2014, the municipality’s share is $106,281.
Expanding the service to include service in the evenings, on weekends or both would mean an additional cost for the municipality — a cost borne by all taxpayers.
Despite the pressures to keep tax rates as low as possible and to run lean municipal budgets, an expansion to the bus service deserves consideration in the coming months.
The service at present does not work for those wishing to go into Penticton outside of weekday business hours.
It also does not work for those from Penticton wishing to come to Summerland for a weekend festival, an evening concert or another event outside of daytime hours.
Summerlanders have already shown they will use a transit service if it is available to them.
Extending the hours for this service deserves serious consideration.