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Rapid growth of population in Kelowna city has become both a challenge and an opportunity to develop a smart transit plan for the region to make transport efficient. The city of Kelowna in Okanagan is the highest growing City in British Columbia, the population is expected to increase by 50 percent in the next two decades.
This growth has called for the improvement of the transport system in the city of Kelowna to accommodate the growing population by implementing the Smart Transit Plan that is planned to come into effect by 2035. Students will be the main benefiters of the federal and provincial project that will be funded at a cost of $2.3.
Even though the City and Kelowna transit have previously revised the bus routes, the demand for transport services is still high especially from the growing number of students and other passengers in the city who use the transport system on a daily basis (Welch and Sauder para. 3).
Kelowna transit system provides conventional transit services and also provides transport for the disabled. The service, known as HandyDART, has 4900 registered users. The UBCO students and staff are the main markets for Kelowna Regional Transit System and because their population is growing rapidly, the improvement of the transit system will provide appropriate transit services.
Even though there have been many queues in bus stops and delays in time due to the increased population of students, Kelowna transit system has done a good job for it has been transporting students to the campus after making changes in the transit system to accommodate the students by introducing the students UPass. This pass enables students to have unlimited access to transport services in a period of one year for only $90. Improvement of the Kelowna Transit system will further improve transport services for these students.
The aims of improving the transport system are to improve efficiency, accessibility, and effectiveness on the roads to meet the rising demand of transport by the equally increasing number of students and to reduce community trafficking that occurs when bus stops are congested. Another aim is to match transit services to land use and demand.
The improvement should be done by expanding off-peak services and improving on time and the number of buses. This will make these services more efficient as it will meet the people’s transport needs. If the Smart Transit Plan is incorporated, it will result in to an efficient transport system able to serve the growing population.
Weaknesses of the Kelowna Transit System
Even though the Kelowna transit system has introduced the student’s Upass, only 5900 students are using it and the number is very low yet the services have already been paid. Another weakness is that the transit system has not been able to accommodate the rising demand of transport due to the rapid growth of population in the city.
The Smart Transit Plan that has been proposed will take some time to be implemented and this will significantly affect the transport system because current demand for transport is already too high (IBI Group 15).
Despite reworking the bus routes, the rapid growth of students is still straining the bus system for it is unable to meet their transport demands. Bus stops are always packed with long queues for the buses are not enough, besides, bus stops are sometimes skipped due to lack of sitting space for passengers in the buses.
Consequently, there is always a delay for people reaching their destinations on time while many people are made to stand in the buses because they are late for school or work yet there are no more seats in the buses. In addition, some students end up fighting for seats or are left stranded as there are no buses to take them back to their residential areas.
Benefits of the Kelowna Transit System
Despite the vast challenges, the Kelowna transport system has done its best by providing daily services and by accommodating and transporting the increasing population. Kelowna transit services are efficient and effective and a study done on different types of transit services proved that its performance levels are better compared to the others.
The introduction of the Upass has increased bus ridership in campus and helped some students to have unlimited access to transport at affordable rates. Furthermore, the transit service serves the whole city and provides coverage all over the city and beyond.
The construction of a new bus shelter by the Kelowna Regional Transit partners will provide passengers with shelter from the sun, snow and rain and will also enhance transport services in and out of the UBCO campus (City of Kelowna para. 5). This is just one of the many improvements that will result out of the proposed improvements of the transit system.
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The future of the Kelowna transit system looks bright owing to the several improvements that will be undertaken on the system, some of which are already underway. Once completed, the transit system will have the capacity to provide services to all of Kelowna’s 150,000 residents and relieve them of the current pressures resulting from a strained system.
Apart from increasing passenger space, the new system will be more efficient and safe due to the installation of traffic management centres along highways. The improvements will also result into less environmental degradation since more people will choose public transport over.
City of Kelowna. Transit Initiatives Get Rolling in Kelowna. April 14, 2010. Web.
IBI Group 2005, Central Okanagan Smart Transit Plan: Final Report. Web.
Welch, Cameron and Sauder, Kit. “The past, present, and future of Kelowna public transit.” The Phoenix News, October 4, 2011. Web.