The RapidBus route between the West Shore and downtown Victoria will officially launch on April 10, according to BC Transit.
It will replace the existing Route 50 Langford/Downtown. That’s the busiest route in Greater Victoria, according to Matthew Boyd, director for corporate and strategic planning with BC Transit, with 10,000 boardings per day on average.
The goal of the RapidBus route is to have transit be faster and more reliable than driving a car, particularly for commuters, with service set to be expanded around peak times and having a bus arriving every 15 minutes along the route. Boyd highlighted the bus lane on Douglas as being a significant time-saving during the morning “Colwood crawl” as well as plans to add similar lanes to the Island Highway and discussions ongoing with Transport Canada to expand the lane along Highway 1.
The route itself will be largely unchanged, although some stops will be dropped from the route to try and streamline the journey. There are 23 stops in all. Boyd said the analysis found the majority of riders shouldn’t be impacted by having a bus stop removed, adding that there should be a RapidBus route stop within walking distance and that existing bus stops will have other busses running still. He added BC Transit would be holding more public consultations to get feedback on how the changes may be impacting people.
The change is part of a regional strategy, with BC Transit working on plans for a McKenzie RapidBus line between Uptown and the University of Victoria, and another Peninsula line between downtown and the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal. Work is ongoing on plans to make infrastructure improvements, like adding bus-only lanes, along those corridors.
Transit ridership is picking up, Boyd added, reaching 90,000 riders per day throughout Greater Victoria in recent months, which is around 90 per cent of the pre-pandemic levels.
An electronic payment system will soon be added to all BC Transit buses. Dubbed Umo, the system will allow people to pay fares via tap on their phone or debit or credit cards.
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