Waiting for the bus

There's still nothing happening about improved transit service for Summerland.

The wait continues.

Despite the studies, reports and even some vague promises from the province, Summerland still does not have anything but the most rudimentary scheduled transit service in place.

Summerland has a HandyDart service, which offers door-to-door service in Summerland and a limited service to Penticton. But this service must be booked in advance and the bus schedule to Penticton is inconvenient for most.

The delays have come at the provincial level and B.C. Transit has not yet approved the request for Summerland service.

This is not a case of needing more information. A study was conducted in 2005 and 2006 and a report was presented in 2007. If anything, the need for the service has increased since that time.

Transit is already a fact of life in Canada’s larger cities and, as fuel prices continue to increase, it simply makes good economic sense to have the bus as an option.

Even some of our smaller communities have bus service.

Nelson, with fewer people than Summerland, has a transit service. The same is true for Trail, Castlegar and Revelstoke, among other smaller B.C. communities.

Elsewhere in the Okanagan Valley, regional transit is firmly established. The Central Okanagan has a service as far as Peachland and Lake Country. Regional service is also in place in the North Okanagan.

The cost of a transit service, under the existing funding arrangements, has been estimated at around $48,000 for the municipality. This amount of money would not even add up to a one per cent tax increase.

We have waited long enough.

The bus shelters are in place. Summerlanders are ready for the service.

We just need the bus.