Officials from BC Transit as well as Greater Victoria and provincial governments gather at the Colwood Transit Exchange. They announced the RapidBus route initiative, which will aim to better connect the areas with the highest travel demand in the region. (Jake Romphf/ News Staff)

Officials from BC Transit as well as Greater Victoria and provincial governments gather at the Colwood Transit Exchange. They announced the RapidBus route initiative, which will aim to better connect the areas with the highest travel demand in the region. (Jake Romphf/ News Staff)

Greater Victoria’s first RapidBus route aims to cut West Shore to downtown travel time

The corridor is expected to be fully up and running within three years

BC Transit hopes the first of three bus corridors will be able to connect the West Shore to downtown Victoria in about 30 minutes and expects it to be up and running within three years.

The RapidBus initiative will aim to better connect Greater Victoria’s areas with the highest travel demand in a way that outperforms single-vehicle traffic in speed, comfort and reliability.

The Westshore to Downtown Victoria Line will be the flagship route, with 22 stops each way between the Langford Centre and Legislature stations.

“We know how fast the communities in the West Shore are growing and there are a lot of families, students, seniors who are all looking for a more affordable, effective, efficient way of moving around the region,” said Christy Ridout, BC Transit vice-president of business development.

She made the announcement Wednesday (June 30) during an event at the Colwood Transit Exchange, along with other local and provincial officials.

Ridout said the Westshore RapidBus Line will have 11,000 daily riders once completed, with the potential for that to increase to more than 30,000 by 2038.

READ: BC Ferries adding sailings as it anticipates ‘busy summer season’

The Westshore’s Line’s implementation will include stop spacing that will aim to get riders to their destination faster, extending the Douglas Street southbound bus lanes and reducing travel times in peak-commute hours between Goldstream Avenue, Island Highway and the legislative precinct.

Following the first route’s completion will be other possible RapidBus routes, including one along Highway 17 that goes up the Peninsula. Another, dubbed the McKenzie Line, will go between Uptown and the University of Victoria.

The RapidBus routes will include dedicated bus lanes in areas where there’s room for them as well as queue jumpers, which allow buses to bypass traffic or gives them precedence at busy spots where space is limited.

Funding strategies for the RapidBus routes are still being finalized. Ridout said they’re confident in the three-year completion timeline, as incremental improvements to transit have been completed in recent years on parts of the corridor.

“We are working collaboratively with all of our partners within the region to determine what the funding sources are. One of the those opportunities is for us to work with upper levels of government, such as the federal government,” she said. “Those processes and that budget development is underway.”

Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming said the B.C. government supports programs like the RapidBus routes, as they try to rebuild transit ridership post-pandemic. He said RapidBus is about reliable, efficient and fast service.

“We can beat the car, in terms of mobility and time to destination in this region and elsewhere,” he said.

READ: Masks recommended on transit across B.C.


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