Hit the road

B.C. Transit is considering launching a new bus service to the West Bench and Sage Mesa.

Travelling to and from the West Bench and Sage Mesa may soon get a lot easier for those without their own vehicles.

Residents of the rural Penticton neighbourhoods are invited to a public meeting this Wednesday, Sept. 18, to discuss proposed transit service for the area.

“We have an opportunity to explore transit service in Greater West Bench and Sage Mesa, but first we need to ensure it is a priority for residents,” Riley Gettens, the area’s representative on the board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, said in a press release.

“This public meeting will provide information about the potential costs and service levels, and give residents a chance to share their feedback.”

The release promises an “extensive public consultation process” before a decision is made.

Running buses to the area is identified as a short-term priority in the B.C. Transit’s long-range plan for the region.

Created in 2015, the plan suggests the new service would run 400 hours per year, cover 8,700 kilometres and offer 1,200 rides. The total cost would be $32,700, with the local share estimated at $16,500. Fares are expected to bring in just $900.

The RDOS now says the local cost would be $15,500 annually, which would work out to between $24 and $26 per parcel or approximately $25.52 per average residential property.

That would buy two or three round trips on weekdays, the fare for which would cost $2.25 for local travel or $4 for regional travel, such as the new route to Kelowna. The target date to get buses rolling is fall 2020.

Wednesday’s meeting is set for 7-8 p.m. at West Bench Elementary.

Those unable to attend can provide feedback by emailing info@rdos.bc.ca.