BC Transit improves James Bay bus routes

New Victoria plan takes effect Jan. 2 with more direct crosstown trips and less transfers

BC Transit said seniors and school age children were the priority when considering the new routes that will take effect Jan. 2 in the James Bay neighbourhood. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

James Bay is getting more than just a new library.

BC Transit is announcing new bus routes to the neighbourhood, enabling riders to make more efficient crosstown journeys with less transfers. Effective Jan. 2, transit users in the seaside community will see less routes – down to three from six – but a more streamlined service with direct routes to Royal Jubilee Hospital, Vic High, Central middle school and Oak Bay.

“We’re trying to simplify the situation,” said BC Transit planning manager James Wadsworth. “It’s important to give the kids preference here.”

Currently, six bus routes operate in James Bay, where the preferred mode of transit is walking, cycling or taking the bus. Routes 2, 3, and 10 will continue to serve the neighbourhood with slight alterations.

Route 2 will provide service throughout James Bay, before travelling through downtown and continuing to Oak Bay with zero transfers needed. Route 3 will provide service to the hospital and continue as the No. 10 toward Vic West, providing a direct trip for riders in James Bay and Fairfield, connecting to Cook Street Village as well. Route 10 will also travel south from Vic West, through downtown and into James Bay and create a new circular village connector.

BC Transit is the second-largest transit system in the province, carrying 100,000 passengers daily. In Victoria, 55 routes take 3,200 trips per day and in James Bay that’s roughly 1,700 people riding buses every day.

“It’s important to improve the bus routes,” Wadsworth said referring to the regional Transit Future Action Plan. “A lot of people ride transit.”

He said BC Transit is approaching each Victoria community – starting with James Bay – in a similar fashion to the City’s approach to its neighbourhood plans. In 2018, new plans for Tillicum-Burnside and the Jubilee area, encompassing Oak Bay, will take effect.

“Quite often when we’re doing them, we’re talking to the City about their plans and the transit plan is intended to support where the community is going,” Wadsworth explained.

With the new James Bay public library branch opening early next year, one of two new stops added to the neighbourhood will be built at the Capital Park development at Menzie and Superior streets.

When BC Transit’s expansion takes effect, it will also include extended service into the Tsawout First Nation neighbourhood in Central Saanich on the new Route 82.

To support the changes and help alleviate confusion, transit ambassadors will be out in the communities at bus stops during the first week of January to help explain the new routes.

Information sessions are scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 6 at the James Bay New Horizons Activity Centre from 3:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 8 at Cook Street Village Activity Centre from 3:30-6 p.m. On Dec. 7, BC Transit will broadcast live from Facebook to answer any questions the public may have.

For more info on the changes, check out BCTransit.com.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

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