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I've been looking through schedules for BC Transit's extremely obscure Health Connections services (different from Northern Health Connections). They are almost never included in riders guides, and some operate as infrequently as once a month, but are available for the general public to use. I'm wondering if anyone has either seen or used these services? I have only ever seen a single BC Transit Health Connections bus. While driving past Costco in Kamloops this past summer, I drove past a Community Shuttle with no bike rack on the front that had a digital display that simply simply said "Kamloops." While I can't be a hundred percent certain that this was a health connections bus, and I failed to check the time to see if lined up with the scheduling of any of the services from Kamloops, I am fairly certain this was a health connections bus as there was no number on the board.

I'm going to try tracking down a health connections bus next time I'm in either Princeton or Kamloops, as they are fairly frequent in both of those places. The entire service baffles me somewhat - in some cases, the service provided by BC Transit Health Connections operates on the same day as a limited regional service, leaving a mere hour later. For example, South Okanagan-Similkameen Route 50 Princeton-Penticton operates Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, leaving Princeton at 7:15AM is repeated as a Health Connections bus only forty-five minutes later at 8:00AM. This wouldn't be a surprise if Route 50 operated more frequently, but the health connection bus has the exact same route, stops and schedule (other than being offset by 45 minutes).

If anyone in the communities served by BC Transit Health Connections knows anything about these bizarre and obscure public buses or has any photos they could share, I would hugely appreciate it. 

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I have seen some of these buses operating in the West Kootenay Transit system. Those are your best bet for actually riding them, as they are connections for smaller communities to the main service area. Many operate at least two or three days a week, with trips to Nelson in the morning and back in the afternoon or evening. They are handy connectors for smaller communities as there often isn't any intercity bus service anymore.

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12 hours ago, InfiNorth said:

I've been looking through schedules for BC Transit's extremely obscure Health Connections services (different from Northern Health Connections). They are almost never included in riders guides, and some operate as infrequently as once a month, but are available for the general public to use. I'm wondering if anyone has either seen or used these services? I have only ever seen a single BC Transit Health Connections bus. While driving past Costco in Kamloops this past summer, I drove past a Community Shuttle with no bike rack on the front that had a digital display that simply simply said "Kamloops." While I can't be a hundred percent certain that this was a health connections bus, and I failed to check the time to see if lined up with the scheduling of any of the services from Kamloops, I am fairly certain this was a health connections bus as there was no number on the board.

I'm going to try tracking down a health connections bus next time I'm in either Princeton or Kamloops, as they are fairly frequent in both of those places. The entire service baffles me somewhat - in some cases, the service provided by BC Transit Health Connections operates on the same day as a limited regional service, leaving a mere hour later. For example, South Okanagan-Similkameen Route 50 Princeton-Penticton operates Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, leaving Princeton at 7:15AM is repeated as a Health Connections bus only forty-five minutes later at 8:00AM. This wouldn't be a surprise if Route 50 operated more frequently, but the health connection bus has the exact same route, stops and schedule (other than being offset by 45 minutes).

If anyone in the communities served by BC Transit Health Connections knows anything about these bizarre and obscure public buses or has any photos they could share, I would hugely appreciate it. 

Most of the Health Connections buses are not operated by the major city they serve (i.e. Kamloops or Kelowna) - they are operated by a smaller system where the bus originates from. So those Health Connections that serve Kamloops would not be in the system schedules for Kamloops. As for the low publicity of them, well in many of these small communities the Health Connections is the only bus run by the system, so the people who need to use it likely know its schedule already. Most of them require trips to be pre-booked, meaning the dispatcher will give a specific time on when the bus will show up when a trip is booked (reducing the need for published schedules).

As @SidneyTransitfan mentioned, the ones operating for West Kootenay Transit System into Nelson are much better organized and represented on the system schedules, even going as far as numbering the various routes. Here's some of my photos from a trip back in 2017:

34668907404_dd8487157b_n.jpg 35342912792_76a26e89ab_n.jpg

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Thanks for the replies! The West Kootenay Transit System buses aren't quite the BC Transit Health Connections buses I'm curious about, as they are all included in the riders guide. The 74 and 76 are regularly scheduled buses that don't prioritize health passengers and do not require advance reservations (as far as I can tell) with the exception of Route 52. Many of the other routes operate similarly with only a few buses a week but aren't listed as Health Connections buses. I'm most curious about services that aren't included in riders guides and seem somewhat thrown together from the lack of uniformity on their webpages, like the Kamloops-based services. On that note, I was also curious what the buses in the West Kootenay system looked like and now I know. I'm glad to see they have mostly up-to-date community buses. Thanks for the information!

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On 9/28/2019 at 9:26 AM, InfiNorth said:

Thanks for the replies! The West Kootenay Transit System buses aren't quite the BC Transit Health Connections buses I'm curious about, as they are all included in the riders guide. The 74 and 76 are regularly scheduled buses that don't prioritize health passengers and do not require advance reservations (as far as I can tell) with the exception of Route 52. Many of the other routes operate similarly with only a few buses a week but aren't listed as Health Connections buses. I'm most curious about services that aren't included in riders guides and seem somewhat thrown together from the lack of uniformity on their webpages, like the Kamloops-based services. On that note, I was also curious what the buses in the West Kootenay system looked like and now I know. I'm glad to see they have mostly up-to-date community buses. Thanks for the information!

Health Connections services are funded by the Regional Health Authority as opposed to a municipal partner. Because of this, in the past the Health Connections services would have their own Riders Guide separate from the municipally funded system if it existed. I haven't seen a separate Health Connections Riders Guide for a while now, so I'm guessing they don't do that anymore, at least not in an official capacity. How the service is paid for and it's primary target ridership is most likely the reason for the how the schedules themselves are both presented and marketed. 

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