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Kelowna bus riders asked to weigh in on transit

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Kelowna bus riders asked to weigh in on transit
Kelowna is the most car dependent city in the country according to Statistics Canada. While the city has the highest car ownership per capita, B.C. Transit says bus ridership is also going up because of Kelowna’s growing population. Neetu Garcha reports. – Apr 5, 2016

KELOWNA – Taking the bus: it’s how thousands of people in Kelowna get around everyday according to B.C. Transit.

The number of riders has consistently gone up over the past few years.

With the growing demand on the local bus system comes a growing number of issues.

“The regional system is growing at such a rapid pace, the land use is changing so much. We want to make sure the transit system builds with the region itself,” says Transit Planner, Matthew Boyd.

Long wait times, difficulty getting on and off buses and rude bus drivers are just a few of the concerns riders have expressed as the agency works to get public input.

“We are currently doing a very detailed customer survey for the Kelowna transportation system,” says Boyd.

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With about 20 B.C. Transit staff on hand, spread out across five bus stops in Kelowna, surveys were being handed out riders on Tuesday.

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READ MORE: Step-up to talk about Kelowna’s Transit future

The surveys asked people what they think of the transit service and how it can better suit their needs.

“Yesterday I was complaining because the bus didn’t arrive and I was waiting at the bus stop for like an hour and a half and it was cold, miserable and raining,” says West Kelowna resident Sarah Paul.

Paul says she wants a more reliable bus route from her city to Kelowna.

“The number 27 and number 29 buses have been cut back a lot for the people who live where I live,” says Paul.

Meanwhile, Kelowna mom Kyla Sayers says taking her young daughter on a bus in the city is such a nightmare, she avoids it whenever she can.

“If I can walk, I’ll walk. I’d rather walk than be on a bus,” says Sayers.

She says bus drivers have consistently been rude to her when she’s got her young, crying toddler on board.

“I’ve had other bus drivers who have told me to keep the thing quiet. Listening to someone call my child a thing is very irritable,” says Sayers.

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However, many are quick to defend Kelowna transit drivers saying a few bad apples shouldn’t be representative of the entire group.

“They’re always happy to help even when they’re super busy,” says Kelowna resident Cassandra Fisher.

The surveys will be available online on B.C. Transit’s website until the end of the week.

B.C. Transit says improvements based on what they hear from riders will be put into place by this time next year.

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