Friday, August 01, 2008

B.C. Transit announces express route to ferries

I knew this was coming, but it is nice to see in just over a month we will see a dramatic improvement in bus service on the peninsula. I had expected there to be significant opposition from the taxi drivers and PCL, but I have not seen or heard it. This is an important and very significant improvement in transit in this region. It is a realistic and cost effective expansion. Now if we can only get the bus lanes down Douglas back into the planning....

Here is an article from the Peninsula News Review.
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Published: July 30, 2008 12:00 PM
Updated: July 30, 2008 12:06 PM

A major change to the bus route from Victoria to Swartz Bay could slash the time it takes to catch a ferry.The downtown Victoria to ferry terminal route (route 70) currently takes an hour — or more during busy times. The Victoria Regional Transit Service says that is about to change, as the journey will be cut down to about 40 minutes starting Sept. 2 when a new express route is introduced. That’s only marginally longer than it takes to drive the route.

Bridgit Mulligan, a University of Victoria student, says the meandering route of the No. 70 bus is what prolongs the trip.

It’s winding and goes through residential areas,” Mulligan said. “It’s not the frequency of the buses that’s the problem, it’s the route.”

The current No. 70 bus cruises the Pat Bay Highway until Central Saanich, where it deviates into Saanichton. Farther up, the route zig-zags through Sidney, by-passing the highway altogether before landing at Swartz Bay.

It can take an hour and a half to two hours if you have to transfer [from another route],” Mulligan said.

The new express route will start in downtown Victoria, connect to the Royal Oak Exchange, then dart up the Pat Bay Highway, says Ron Drolet, senior vice-president of B.C. Transit.

In conjunction with the shortening of that route, the transit service is adding two new routes to service the Peninsula — one along the east side and another down West Saanich Road.

We want to make our existing service for existing customers more appealing so we can have people rely on service that is more frequent with higher capacity,” Drolet said.

Victoria Regional Transit Service hasn’t yet released maps of the new Peninsula routes. However, they are expected to appear online mid-August.

ecardone@saanichnews.com

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