There are few changes, if any, ahead for B.C. Transit services on the Peninsula.
In a presentation to the March 13 tri-municipal meeting of the district of Central and North Saanich and the Town of Sidney, B.C. Transit senior planner John Hicks said much of their current focus is on routes and services in Saanich and Victoria. While there are opportunities for efficiencies to be found on local routes, he said, Transit is focussing more on high-traffic areas, such as Royal Oak, where they are looking to create a new park and ride facility at the existing exchange.
Apart from some potential improvement to bus shelters along East Saanich Road, Hicks said B.C. Transit is happy with its current lineup of routes and is making a commitment to its relatively new airport connection.
In place for the last 18 months, Hicks said usage is still on the low side. He said B.C. Transit won’t make a decision on its future for two to three years.
“It’s with the understanding that it would be on the low-end and a work in progress,” he said.
Other routes on the Peninsula, such as the number 70 express bus to Victoria, are popular. As things stand today, Hicks said there are no plans to expand the number of services on the Peninsula.
Hicks was asked by local politicians about potential service into the Dean Park area of North Saanich. Currently, people wanting to take a bus have to walk from the residential area to East Saanich Road to catch a bus.
“It’s a challenge,” Hicks said. “There is no centre of Dean Park, pre se, so we would need to determine a route, working on that with the municipality.”
He added the earliest any change might be made in the area would be in September of 2014.
Transit, has, however, made changes to routes 88 and 59, to better allow riders access to places such as the SHOAL Centre and Sidney library, and those are working out well, Hicks said.
Asked about the McTavish Road park and ride facility, Hicks said it’s doing fine, apart from complaints received about the roundabouts there. The facility, he said, is a single point of transfer for services on the Peninsula, adding Transit is always tweaking the routes to deal with timing issues and missed buses.
Sidney councillor Mervyn Lougher-Goodey asked about the 200 parking spaces in the facility — whether they are full or not. Hicks said those spaces are almost never completely full, which is how Transit designed the facility.
“We haven’t seen them anywhere close to full,” he said, noting that the site was designed to meet the needs of transit users for years to come.