Salmon Arm  

Shuswap buses see increased ridership as residents, elected officials join Transit Challenge Week

Councillor joins transit week

Transit Challenge Week has kicked off in the Shuswap and across the Okanagan.

The Okanagan Transit Association and the Shuswap Climate Action Society have teamed up for the event, challenging residents to use public transit from Jan. 29 until Feb. 4. After the week is over, the climate action society will email registered participants to get feedback.

The groups also challenged local politicians to spend a week using public transit.

Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond is taking part in the challenge, and is a longtime fan of the Salmon Arm transit system. She said before the pandemic, she took the bus "almost exclusively."

She hopes the transit challenge week can open people’s eyes to the possibilities of local transit.

“If one person took the bus this week that hadn't taken it before, I would see that as a win,” Wallace Richmond said. “I look at it as a piece of very valuable community infrastructure.”

Wallace Richmond believes young people can especially benefit from transit.

“My kids would jump on the bus, go to the skate park, you know, go to Dairy Queen. They learned their city because of transit," she said.

“The sooner young people can learn how to move around their city safely, the better off we all are."

“We were a one car household. I came to like it, it was just such an enlightening, delightful, practical thing to be doing," Wallace Richmond said, adding she finds the local transit system quite convenient.

“I can leave at 20 to the hour, and when I was teaching at the college, I could be at the college at five to the hour. And I could be in council chambers at one minute to the hour.”

Wallace Richmond said Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison is also taking part in the challenge.

“My understanding is the mayor was on the bus yesterday, I saw a post online," she said.

Jackie Kundert, BC Transit Supervisor, said Shuswap buses have already seen an increase in ridership just days into the transit challenge week, which ends on Sunday.

To register or learn more about the challenge, visit the Shuswap Climate Action Society website.

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