Transit expands service, but not in Sooke

Transit expands service, but not in Sooke

Mayor expects more improvements soon

Sooke residents will have to wait a little longer, before they receive better transit service, says Mayor Maja Tait.

But she’s confident it’s on the way.

The Victoria Regional Transit Commission and B.C. Transit announced fall service changes today. The changes include the introduction of two new routes, the opening of the Westhills Exchange, and improvements to frequency and on-time performance.

Tait said one benefit for Sooke residents is a new West Shore/University of Victoria route, which would benefit those who need to get to UVic, Victoria General Hospital or Camosun College

“It’s disappointing that Sooke will see no improvements this fall,” Tait said, but she’s encouraged by a review that will take place next year.

It was expected Sooke would see more service hours for its community buses and routes to other areas of Greater Victoria this fall. The plan fell apart last year when the province refused to use gas tax revenue to fund the service.

Sooke residents have demanded an earlier bus in the morning and better coverage in the afternoon for in-town travel, among other service improvements.

It takes B.C. Transit about 18 months to plan any changes in routes and scheduling due to funding and the need to order new buses.

The Victoria Regional Transit Commission, an arm of B.C. Transit, is working with the province to find a more sustainable funding formula. The service expansion was made possible through funding from the province and the commission.

“Partnerships are key to making transit successful, and this is evident in the expansion that will benefit customers as we roll out fall service this year,” said Susan Brice, chair of the VRTC.

“The introduction of the new service hours addresses needs expressed by customers, and we look forward to continuing to work towards future expansion.”

Tait hopes more people step forward “to have a conversation” about transit.

“I think with our expanding population and the demands on the highway we certainly want transit to become a more viable option,” she said.

“I’m certainly of the opinion that the transit commission and staff are well aware that the service in our area needs to improve. It’s just how it will be funded.”

For more information on routes, fares, schedules and more, please call 250-382-6161 or go online to www.BCTransit.com/Victoria.

klaird@blackpress.ca