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April 20, 2012

NEW VERNON BUS EXCHANGE, EXPANDED SERVICE HOURS & HOLIDAY SERVICE

Transit a hit with the kids
Vernon Morning Star
Gavin Onsorge (left) and Emma Eggert are congratulated for their art and poetry by BC Transit president Manuel Achadinha during a ceremony at the new transit terminus on 31st Avenue Friday. By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star

VERNON – Effective April 29, 2012 BC Transit opens its new and vastly improved bus exchange in downtown Vernon. The new exchange is the most visible component in a series of changes coming to the Vernon Regional Transit System. Most bus routes in the City of Vernon will see longer evening hours and Sunday service is expanded on several runs.

The new bus exchange at 31st Avenue and 30th Street includes six shelters. Four shelters have benches on both sides, so that Vernon residents can either watch and wait for their bus or enjoy the view in Vernon’s Cenotaph Park. These well-lit shelters, that incorporate a wood-first design principle, are the start of several improvements residents can expect to see at bus stops over the next year as Vernon seeks to attract more riders to a vital, active and engaged core. The new exchange also offers accessibility improvements for BC Transit customers who rely on wheelchairs and scooters.

After a six month construction phase, the exchange is essentially a bus-only block. There are seven saw-tooth bays at the BC Transit exchange so that each bus can act independently. The old Vernon exchange involved parallel parked buses that would have to wait for the slower loading vehicles to move first in order to clear a safe path.

A total of 2800 new service hours are being added. The expansion hours are aimed at meeting the needs of commuters. On routes #2 through #7 there will be additional trips Monday to Thursday evenings until about 7:20pm. On Friday and Saturday, BC Transit service hours will wrap up around 9:15 pm to accommodate late-night shopping hours and to allow for Vernon residents to enjoy a beverage, a meal or movie on the busiest social nights of the week.

Sunday service is also being extended on some routes with the latest run leaving the new exchange at 4:50 pm.

Holiday service will be added in Vernon on routes #1 through #7 for Canada Day and Remembrance Day. BC Transit will operate Sunday service levels on these statutory holidays.

Considering the scope and complexity of the changes; BC Transit and our Vernon operating partner First Canada ULC are proud to announce our transit drivers are volunteering their time on Sunday, April 29th to help riders best navigate the service changes.

“The new service and exchange will make transit more attractive to our residents,” said Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster. “Many thanks to everyone who has been involved with these exciting improvements and to the staff who will make the transition smooth for passengers.”

“The City of Vernon is pleased to be meeting the transportation priorities of its residents by expanding transit service and hope to have more improvements in the Sunday service starting in September this year,” said Vernon Mayor Rob Sawatzky.

“BC Transit is proud of the new Vernon exchange and its positive impact in the downtown core,” said BC Transit President & CEO Manuel Achadinha. “With more evening hours, better Sunday coverage and a Vernon first, holiday service, transit is more convenient and reliable.”

Change Highlights:

  • Extended Monday to Thursday evening service to 7:18 pm
  • Extended Friday and Saturday evening service to 9:13 pm
  • New exchange at 31st Ave. and 30th Street
  • Holiday service on Canada Day and Remembrance Day

More information on the Vernon Regional Transit System can be found at www.bctransit.com.

Media coverage of BCT news.