Sunday, July 18, 2010

Making Transit more efficient in Victoria

The biggest problem we have in Victoria is the lack of serious Express Bus service.  

1) Actually make some form of bu lanes on Highway #1 out to the Westshore.   There is enough space on either side of the Mackenzie and #1 intersection and the Tillicum and #1 intersection to add an extra lane for buses only.   During non peak times this could be the shoulder of the road.

You would not need the third lane going west past Mackenzie or going east past Tillicum.

Of course the lights at these intersections would be pus priority during peak times and would remain red till all the buses went through.   There is no reason the buses could not have transponders to make this happen.

These changes should shave off about 5 to 8 minutes of the trip and make a a trip not 45 minutes, but 37 to 40 minutes.  It also increases the capacity on the route by 10% without having to buy new buses.

Another change could be to route a new bus via Veteran's Memorial Parkway and then onto the Highway.   This would speed up people getting from Langford into downtown, this would save another 5 to 8 minutes per trip in peak times.

2) Would it be so hard to replicate the B-Line buses from Vancouver here in Victoria?

One change that would need to have happen to make this work better is a machine to read your pass or ticket, something like is used in Vancouver.

Two routes that come to mind for me, both of them with the same end points, UVic and Dockyard.

The first would run from Dockyard to Admirals and them Mackenzie out to the University.

The second would run from Dockyard along Esquimalt Road and then up Fort and then Foul Bay to UVic.

The buses should be operated like the B Line ones in Vancouver, multiple entry for the public and you need should have your fare paid before stepping on the bus.   This would mean having automated ticket machines at all the stops.   It would also mean have ticket/pass readers on all buses, like they do in Vancouver.

If the bus can load quickly and spend less than 45 seconds at a stop, this would improve the speed.   These buses should also be built with transponders that signal to the lights where they are at and make the lights more favourable for them.

Once again, these changes will increase the capacity of the system at no extra cost in buses.   In fact putting in the B-Line type buses should free up the resources to offer 10,000, or more, service hours per year at no cost.  This would be enough to offer something on par with the new #10 for no added cost.

The bus stops for these routes should have displays that show how long till the next three buses, and which they are and if they are full.  Actually, Victoria Regional Transit should look at "Next Bus" displays for the top 10% of stops in the region.   Knowing how soon the bus will be there will increase use.
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