Lake Country Mayor Blair Ireland took an opportunity at council’s Feb. 21 regular meeting, to drive home a message to BC Transit leadership.
Representatives from the Crown corporation provided council with an update on the Kelowna Regional Transit System (KRTS).
After the presentation, Ireland said they needed to discuss the elephant in the room.
“The contractor is taking money out of our community overseas which is exactly what happens,” he said. “Anywhere else in the world that money would be reinvested in the infrastructure for that business. It’s not a profit centre.”
KRTS is currently operated by Swedish company First Transit which signed a deal to sell its operations to French-based Transdev Group in October 2022.
Ireland told the representatives that BC Transit needs to take a strong look at the KRTS is operated.
“Your leadership really needs to hear that we need them to remove these contractors so that we can do this job properly and reinvest in our communities in our own country.”
The mayor added that his comments were not a reflection of BC Transit but, again, of the contractor.
“That’s why we have issues, that’s why we can’t keep bus drivers. Bus drivers don’t get paid enough to do what they’re doing,” said Ireland.
BC Transit is seeking support from Central Okanagan municipalities as it applies for federal government grants to upgrade the aging Hardy Road bus yard and begin the design and planning for a new facility proposed for Hollywood Road.