RapidBus service expansion speeds up Westside commute

WEST KELOWNA, BC, Sept. 6, 2014 /CNW/ - Faster service, new modern stations and the latest transit technology will make taking the bus more comfortable and reliable for RapidBus BC passengers. The RapidBus BC service connecting West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation and Kelowna with the University of BC Okanagan (UBCO) is now in service. The $46 million Kelowna RapidBus BC project is the backbone of a sustainable, efficient transportation network for the region.

The 15-kilometre route represents the second phase of the RapidBus project and includes four new transit stations and four new exchanges designed to provide passengers with faster, more frequent public transportation, supporting bus service every 15 minutes during peak periods.

When completed the Kelowna RapidBus BC project will provide 30 kilometres of transit service with new signal communications technology that enables transit operators to extend green lights at intersections to allow them priority movement with minimal stops. Digital screens will provide schedule information at all RapidBus stations and buses will include visual and audio next stop announcements. Once finished, Kelowna RapidBus project will have created more than 240 jobs, spurred economic development in communities and will improve transportation options for families.

The Government of Canada contributed up to $10.9 million from the Major Infrastructure Component of the Building Canada Fund and $6 million from the federal Gas Tax Fund. The Government of British Columbia has provided $23.9 million; the City of Kelowna committed $5.2 million and West Kelowna contributed land.

Quick Facts:

  • RapidBus provides 30 kilometres of service between West Kelowna and the UBC Okanagan campus.
  • Once complete, the Kelowna RapidBus BC project will include six new or improved exchanges, ten new stations, branded shelters and real-time passenger information.
  • RapidBus BC ridership has grown almost 10 per cent between downtown Kelowna and UBCO since the service began in 2010.
  • Since 2009, transit ridership has risen by more than 400,000 boardings each year.  In 2013/14, BC Transit provided nearly 4.8 million passenger trips in the Kelowna Regional Transit System.
  • In total, the project will receive up to $46 million in funding from federal, provincial and local partners.

Quotes:

MP Ron Cannan
"Our Government is pleased to have invested in this infrastructure project that also supports efficient, environmentally-sustainable transportation. We remain committed to working with our partners to improve transit services for Kelowna residents and to promote long-term economic growth in the region."

MLA Norm Letnick
"The Province and BC Transit have been pleased to partner with West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation and Kelowna on the completion of the RapidBus BC project .  By working together with the community and senior governments, local elected representatives have achieved a major goal - providing high quality transit infrastructure to serve the region's growing population."

Mayor Doug Findlater
"West Kelowna Council was pleased to partner with the Province and BC Transit through the contribution of land to provide this valuable service for our residents.   West Kelowna Council saw the RapidBus project as a catalyst for development of its commercial and urban core in Westbank Centre and Boucherie Mountain areas. "

BC Transit Executive Director, Business Development Erinn Pinkerton
"The expansion of RapidBus service will make transit more efficient and effective and help our customers travel quickly through the Kelowna Regional System. We have been pleased to work closely with our partners at the District of West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation and City of Kelowna to grow this popular service. "

Learn more:
See how the federal Gas Tax Fund provides long-term funding to help local governments build and revitalize their local infrastructure, visit www.infrastructure.gc.ca.

For information about Canada's Economic Action Plan, visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.

For information on the Government of British Columbia, visit www.th.gov.bc.ca/Transit_Plan

For information on BC Transit, visit www.bctransit.com/transitfuture/kelrapidbus_latestupdates.cfm

For information on the District of West Kelowna, visit www.districtofwestkelowna.ca.

SOURCE: Transport Canada

For further information:

Meribeth Burton
BC Transit
250-507-8145
Meribeth_burton@bctransit.com

Government Communications & Public Engagement
Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure
250-413-7941

Kirsten Jones
District of West Kelowna
778-797-2253

Vincent Rabault
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and
Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada
for the Regions of Quebec
Ottawa
613-943-1838

Media Relations
Transport Canada
Ottawa
613-993-0055


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