BC Transit saw a recovery in 2021, but numbers are still down from where they were before the pandemic in the South Okanagan. (Megan Atkins-Baker - Black Press File)

BC Transit saw a recovery in 2021, but numbers are still down from where they were before the pandemic in the South Okanagan. (Megan Atkins-Baker - Black Press File)

Ridership down but recovering for South Okanagan bus routes: BC Transit report

The report is being presented to the regional district on Jan. 20

BC Transit still has a ways to go before they reach their pre-pandemic ridership, according to a report being presented to the regional district today, Jan. 20.

The one exception in the RDOS is Route 70, connecting Penticton and Kelowna. The route only began operation in September 2019, but as of September 2021 it was seeing around double the number of monthly riders.

Routes 10 Naramata between Penticton, 20 Okanagan Falls between Penticton, 21 Okanagan Falls local, 40 Osoyoos between Penticton and 41 Osoyoos local all saw their ridership drop dramatically in 2020.

The Osoyoos routes are close to reaching pre-pandemic levels, but for 2020-21 BC Transit recorded 1.7 passengers per hour along the routes, for an average cost of $53.29 per passenger, compared to 3.6 passengers per hour and $22.74 in average cost for 2019-20.

Routes 10, 20 and 21 saw a combined average of 2.7 passengers per hour for 2020-21, compared to 5.1 in 2019-20. Costs also rose as a result of the reduced ridership, with 2020-21 costs of about $32.41 a passenger compared to $15.86 for 2019-20.

READ MORE: New West Bench bus route to Penticton now running

Starting in 2022, BC Transit is expecting the budget costs to grow with the addition of the new West Bench to Penticton route, and the addition of more trips on Route 70.

BC Transit will be bringing in electronic fares as another planned project for 2022, with the announcement of their partner company scheduled for Jan. 25.

In addition to the electronic fares, BC Transit will be aiming for the introduction of their NextRide program for the spring, which will provide real-time trip planning, bus location data for apps and Google Maps and audible and visual next stop announcements for all riders.

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