Smaller buses being brought back to Penticton

B.C. Transit offers city an incentive to bring two Vicinity buses back for six-month trial run

Smaller buses will be back on Penticton bus routes in 2013, thanks to city council reversing a decision made just over a month ago.

In early September, staff informed council about disappointing results from a trial of one of B.C. Transit’s Vicinity buses. Response to the 30-seat bus had not been good, either from riders or drivers. Concerns included having only one spot for wheelchairs, and limited accessibility via the bus’s single door.

The buses still have only a single door, but council has decided to accept a B.C. Transit offer of two of the buses on a six-month trial.

The offer, said director of operations Mitch Moroziuk, came in late September in a letter outlining improvements made to the Vicinity bus in the production version, addressing several of the concerns.

“The bus can now accommodate two wheelchairs,” said Moroziuk, adding a laundry list of fixes, including: changes to electrical controls, a volume control on the stop bells, and updating the dashboard layout for the drivers.

“There are some items that they have not been able to address,” he said. “There is still only one door on the bus, there is a wide door swing, so the driver has to be careful when he opens the door. There is a smaller lower floor area as compared to the Nova buses. Overall, there is a smaller seating capacity.”

Looking at ridership statistics, Moroziuk estimated there was an average of 1.4 to 1.69 people per trip with some kind of mobility impairment. Since not all of those would be using wheelchairs or scooters, he felt that the increase to two wheelchair positions would significantly reduce the chances of a driver having to leave a disabled person waiting at a bus stop.

“We basically have found that the lower floor area will have sufficient room . There will be times, though, where it won’t,” said Moroziuk. “There are also going to be times when people in the lower floor area will have to move into the upper floor area to provide access and room for someone with a higher level of disability.”

B.C. Transit, Moroziuk continued, understood there might be some reluctance, and so were offering what he called a “win-win” deal, swapping two of the existing Nova buses for the smaller ones, starting in May 2013.

“If it was found that they meet our needs, they would be permanently transferred to our fleet,” said Moroziuk. If there were issues that could be fixed, B.C. Transit would do so, and again, Penticton would have two new additions to the fleet.

“If we simply found that’s not the bus for us, they would give us back the Nova buses that we had,” he said. “During that trial period, we would only be charged the lease rate for the smaller Vicinity bus, which is less, and we would only be charged the gas rate for the smaller bus and we would not be charged at all for the Nova buses.”

Coun. Andrew Jakubeit noted that B.C. Transit was essentially asking Penticton to beta-test the buses, questioning whether Transit might be willing to put up more incentives. Jakubeit suggested that Transit might also put some marketing dollars on the table, citing concerns about public response.

“Because they are not going to phone B.C. Transit, they are going to phone us. And they are going to blame us,” said Jakubeit. “I am open to looking at it (Vicinity bus) again, but obviously it is a little more saleable if there is some other incentives to help increase ridership.”

Mayor Dan Ashton, as he called for the vote that would see council endorse the new trial deal as is, said that a 25 per cent cost reduction, even for six months, was incentive enough.

When the buses arrive, Moroziuk said they would most likely be put  to work on the two west side routes, as well as the night and Sunday routes.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This now empty restaurant beside the Summerland Waterfront Resort will be turned back to its former glory of Shaughnessy’s Cove. Opening in May. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Summerland waterfront is getting a new restaurant

The now closed Local will be turned back into its former glory of the Shaughnessy’s Cove

Bob MacMillan raises a toast to Robbie Burns at the celebration for the 261st birthday of the Scottish Bard on Saturday, Jan. 18. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Explore Scottish culture with new Penticton television series

The Penticton Scottish Festival’s Exploring Scottish Culture in the Okanagan series debuts Jan. 18

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
115 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths in Interior Health

There are now a total of 4,970 cases in the region

Gorgeous fiery sunset taken from a parking lot on Martin St. on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021 at 4:45 p.m. (Brennan Phillips)
January is producing some gorgeous sunsets

Sunsets and warm weather for the start of 2021

Carol Loiselle filed a discrimination and harassment complaint with the B.C. Humans Right Tribunal in 2018 after working at Windward Software Systems, Inc. in Penticton for eight years. (Google maps photo)
Penticton woman wins part of her B.C. Human Rights Tribunal case

Carol Loiselle alleges she faced years of discrimination, harassment at Windward Software Systems

Brett Forsythe battles it out in a game of singles pickleball on ice at Okanagan Training Rink Thursday, Jan. 7 in support of the Vernon Food Bank. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Pickleball play hits the ice in Okanagan

Rivals battle it out in support of the food bank

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials says it will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

City of Salmon Arm Coun. Chad Eliason goes public with the information he went to Mexico over Christmas. (Contributed)
Salmon Arm councillor travels to Mexico over Christmas holiday

Politician says he regrets decision and didn’t consider the ramifications

Letisha Reimer died Nov. 1, 2016 after being stabbed at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
No evidence that killer was in ‘psychotic state’ during Abbotsford school stabbing: Crown

Second day of closing arguments at ‘not criminally responsible’ hearing for Gabriel Klein

Kelowna RCMP precinct. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna Mountie transferred, fined after pointing gun at another officer

Const. Kristine Roesler argued she handled the gun safely and did it in the spirit of ‘dark humour’

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s. (Canadian Press file)
Full parole granted to former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse of boys

Alan Davidson convicted of abusing boys in B.C. and Saskatchewan in late ’70s, early ’90s

Salmon Arm Recreation notified the public of a COVID-19 exposure at the Salmon Arm pool on Jan. 14. (Lachlan Labere/Salmon Arm Observer)
COVID-19 exposure reported at Salmon Arm pool

Salmon Arm Recreation became aware of the virus exposure on Jan. 13.

The first COVID-19 vaccine arrives in B.C. in temperature-controlled containers, Dec. 13, 2020. (B.C. government)
More vaccine arrives as B.C. struggles with remote COVID-19 cases

Long-term care homes remain focus for public health

Most Read