BC Transit considering Rapid Bus services for Victoria

Aug 26 2020, 9:01 am

Greater Victoria could potentially see a new network of fast, frequent, and high capacity bus routes on key corridors.

BC Transit is in the process of developing a plan for potential Rapid Bus routes within the Victoria Regional Transit System. The implementation strategy was launched earlier this year, and a plan will be developed in the fall.

The plan will identify potential routes, stop locations, service frequencies, costs, and the preferred bus vehicle type, with the intent of maximizing the usage of the existing bus fleet.

Such Rapid Bus services are being eyed for the Victoria region’s three busiest corridors, specifically from Westshore to downtown, the University of Victoria to downtown, and the Saanich Peninsula to downtown.

Matthew Boyd, the director of corporate and strategy planning for BC Transit, told Daily Hive Urbanized the program will build on the success of the recent introduction of bus lanes in the region, which have reduced travel times by 10 minutes to 20 minutes each bus trip.

Earlier this spring, the $16-million, 2.3-km-long southbound bus lane on Douglas Street between Tillicum Road and Boleskine Road reached completion. There is also a northbound bus lane from Fisgard Street to the Highway 1-Burnside Road overpass.

“We want to make sure the experience for the customer is as simple as possible, so that when they get to the stop, they know exactly when the bus is going to be arriving,” said Boyd, emphasizing that such services will focus on improving reliability and speed with limit stops and potentially bus priority infrastructure such as additional bus lanes.

It will be similar to the B-Line and new “RapidBus” services operated by TransLink in Metro Vancouver.

“We’ve been working closely with TransLink on how they have implemented the RapidBus service, and we’ll be looking to follow a similar path on how the service is launched and how the service is experienced from a customer perspective,” added Boyd.

He notes that the unique branding of the buses and bus stops for TransLink’s RapidBus — effectively distinguishing this service from regular buses — could be another feature of Victoria’s version.

Upon the completion of the plan, BC Transit will consult with local governments and other stakeholders.

Earlier in 2020, TransLink launched five RapidBus services, including three brand new routes (Marine Drive on the North Shore, 41st Avenue in Vancouver, and Lougheed Highway east of Coquitlam Central Station) and two B-Line conversions (95 B-Line Burrard/SFU and 96 B-Line Guildford/Newton).

Two additional RapidBus routes are planned for launch early in this decade, specifically along Scott Road and 72 Avenue (between Scott Road Station, Scottsdale Exchange, and Newton Exchange), and from Richmond-Brighouse Station to Metrotown Station via the Knight Street Bridge.

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