Commuters wait for their buses at the Colwood Exchange. (Black Press Media file photo)

Commuters wait for their buses at the Colwood Exchange. (Black Press Media file photo)

BC Transit highlights improvement priorities along Thetis Vale and in Greater Victoria

Funding remains an open question

BC Transit will prioritize improvements along some key routes following public requests on much-needed service extensions in the region, according to a letter received by View Royal council on Tuesday.

As part of the View Royal and Esquimalt Local Area Transit Plan, two rounds of public engagement sessions were held in the fall of 2018 and a workshop with local stakeholders was conducted in March 2019.

“BC Transit heard requests for increased frequency on key transit routes, more direct service to key destinations,” especially for downtown Victoria, Victoria General Hospital, and the West Shore recreation centre, as well as expanding service in the Thetis Vale area, the letter from the provincial planning manager BC Transit planning manager James Wadsworth reads.

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The “improvement priorities” outlined in the letter identifies the need for BC Transit to:

  • Introduce transit priority along the Island Highway (BC-1) and Esquimalt Road. Increase park and ride capacity on the West Shore.
  • Increase the use of double-decker buses, the service frequency, and the span of service (timing of the first bus and the last bus) on Route 14 UVic and Route 50 Langford.
  • Implement Route 53 Atkins Express Commuter Route from Thetis Vale/Chilco to Downtown Victoria with morning and evening trips.
  • Extend the Route 53 Atkins to provide direct service to the Victoria General Hospital. Increase trips on Route 46 Dockyard to provide increased frequency of service and midday service on the Island Highway between Helmcken Road and Highway 1.
  • Introduce a new route along Admirals Road connecting Esquimalt and Tillicum Mall.

A final round of open houses featuring the priorities will be held “later this year,” the letter reads.

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Whether the improvements will be implemented are “subject to local and provincial funding and prioritization with other transit investments across the region,” the letter states.

The View Royal and Esquimalt Local Area Transit Plan is one of nine Local Area Transit Plans, which are part of an overall plan adopted by the Victoria Regional Transit Commission in 2011 to improve the region’s transit system.

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