Victoria Regional Transit System

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Victoria Regional Transit System
logo
image
Founded 1890[1]
Headquarters 520 Gorge Road East,
Victoria, BC
Service type bus service, paratransit
Alliance BC Transit
Routes 55
Operator handyDART: Farwest
bus service: BC Transit
Website Victoria
An Alexander Dennis Enviro500 equipped with bike rack, one of the double deckers servicing Victoria.

Victoria Regional Transit System provides public transportation in the Greater Victoria region of British Columbia, Canada. Its operations are governed by the Victoria Regional Transit Commission in association with BC Transit. There were more than 25 million riders in 2010.[2]

History[edit]

Transit service began in 1890 by the National Electric Tramway and Light Company with four street cars. On May 26, 1896 a packed streetcar crashed through the Point Ellice Bridge and 55 people were killed. The Consolidated Electric Railway Company was forced into receivership by the disaster and emerged reorganized as the British Columbia Electric Railway on April 15, 1897.

The use of buses started in 1923 for outlying routes. Although trolley buses were tried in 1945, the transit system was completely converted to motor buses in 1948. In 1961 BC Electric became part of BC Hydro, a Crown corporation, before the transit system was moved to the crown agency that would become BC Transit. In 2000 Victoria became the first city in North America to use double decker buses in regular public transit service[3] as well as the first city to use hybrid double-decker buses.[4]

Operations[edit]

The transit system has 260 buses on 37 conventional routes and 18 community bus routes covering Greater Victoria including:[5] Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay, Langford, Esquimalt, View Royal, Colwood, Central Saanich, North Saanich, Sidney, Metchosin, Highlands, and Sooke.

Primary bus route destinations are: downtown Victoria, the University of Victoria, the Royal Oak Exchange in Saanich, Westshore Town Centre in Langford, and the Western Exchange in Colwood.

Routes[edit]

Routes are named for the direction of travel, thus each route has two names, indicating direction. Some routes also change in the evening or on weekends, which changes the route name again. Many routes are still known by their older, fixed names when buses used non-electronic signs, such as the 26 Crosstown, now Dockyard/UVic.

  • 1- Richardson/Downtown
  • 2/2A- Oak Bay/Willows/Downtown
  • 3- Gonzales/Downtown/Beacon Hill
  • 4- UVic/Downtown
  • 6- Royal Oak Exchange/Esquimalt
  • 7- UVic/Gonzales/Downtown
  • 8- Interurban/Tillicum Mall/Oak Bay
  • 10- Jubilee/Dockyard
  • 11- Tillicum Mall/UVic
  • 12- University Heights/UVic
  • 13- Ten Mile Point/University Heights
  • 14- Vic General/UVic
  • 15- UVic Express/Downtown Express
  • 16- UVic Express/Uptown Express
  • 17- Cedar Hill School Special (Christmas Hill)
  • 18- Cedar Hill School Special (Cloverdale)
  • 19- Hillside Mall
  • 21- Interurban/Downtown
  • 22- Vic General/Hillside Mall
  • 24- Cedar Hill/Admirals Walk
  • 25- Maplewood/Admirals Walk/Western Exchange
  • 26- Dockyard/UVic
  • 27- Gordon Head/Downtown/Beacon Hill
  • 28- Majestic/Downtown/Beacon Hill
  • 29- UVic (from Gordon Head)
  • 30- Royal Oak via Carey/James Bay/Beacon Hill
  • 31- Royal Oak via Glanford/James Bay
  • 32- Cordova Bay
  • 33- UVic (from James Bay)
  • 35- Ridge
  • 39- Royal Roads/Camosun College/UVic
  • 50- Langford/Downtown
  • 51- UVic/Langford
  • 52- Colwood/Langford/Western Exchange
  • 53- Atkins
  • 54- Metchosin
  • 55- Happy Valley
  • 56- Spencer
  • 57- Millstream
  • 58- Langford Meadows
  • 59- Triangle Mountain
  • 61- Sooke/Downtown
  • 63- Otter Point
  • 64- East Sooke
  • 66- Duncan Connector to Victoria - operated by the Cowichan Valley Commuter Transit System[6]
  • 70- Swartz Bay/Downtown Express
  • 72- Swartz Bay/Downtown via Fifth
  • 75- Saanichton/Royal Oak/Downtown
  • 76- UVic/Swartz Bay Express
  • 81- Brentwood/Swartz Bay/Butchart Gardens
  • 83- Royal Oak/Sidney via West Saanich/Airport
  • 85- North Saanich
  • 86- Deep Cove/McTavish Interchange
  • 88- Sidney/Airport
  • 99- Shawnigan Lake Connector to Victoria - operated by the Cowichan Valley Commuter Transit System[7]

Fares[edit]

Fare type
Adult/College $2.50
Senior/Youth $2.50

Child under age six: no charge.

Day pass are available for $7.00 for adults and college students. Youth and seniors are $5.00.

Monthly passes are: Adult $85, College $ 72, and Senior/Youth $46.

Students at the University of Victoria, Royal Roads University, and Camosun College are part of the U-PASS program. All students pay for subsidized bus passes as part of their fees ($69.25 for four months).

Only one fare zone exists for the Victoria network, as in April 2008 the system eliminated the then $3 two zone fare.[8]

Transfer time allowed is 60 minutes, and allow for one-way travel only. On June 27, 2011, allowable transfer time was reduced from 90 minutes, and the transfer policy also changed from providing two-way travel.[9]

Accessibility[edit]

Victoria's transit fleet is fully accessible, with either ramps or lifts providing access. Some bus stops are considered inaccessible due to their design, with inadequate space to accommodate wheelchairs or operation of vehicle ramps/lifts.

Paratransit services, called handyDART, are also available. Unlike the regular bus system HandyDART is contracted out. The system currently has 48 vans with door-to-door service for people who cannot ride the conventional buses. Booking is required and restrictions on who can use the system apply.

Fleet[edit]

An out of service bus stopped on the side of the road in Downtown Victoria.

Expansion possibilities[edit]

Light Rail Transit (LRT)[edit]

A proposal exists to build a light rail line from downtown Victoria, routing along Douglas Street to Uptown, beside the Trans Canada Highway and the Galloping Goose bike path to Six Mile, then along the Old Island Highway through Colwood to Langford.[10] Several options have been offered for LRT phased implementation, with all variations starting in downtown Victoria, and initially providing service to either Six Mile, Colwood Exchange or all the way to Langford Exchange. While the E&N rail corridor was considered as a potential route under this proposal, it wasn't selected as the ideal candidate. Full implementation of the line between downtown and Langford for initial opening is projected to cost $950 million.

Long term transit network plans outline potential rapid transit corridors for the future, including two that span from Uptown, with a corridor north to the Saanich Peninsula and Sidney, and a corridor east following McKenzie to UVic.

E&N rail corridor[edit]

The E&N rail tracks from up island provide access into Vic West, across the inlet from downtown Victoria. The E&N tracks used to run into downtown via the Johnson Street bridge, but as the bridge is being slated for replacement due to deterioration, the railway component of the bridge was permanently closed in 2011. Rail will not be installed on the new bridge initially, but will have provision to allow tracks to be installed in the future.

BC Transit has studied the E&N rail corridor as a commuter rail link from West Shore to Victoria.[11] A bike path is being built beside the E&N tracks, while allowing rail service to continue.[12] No formal plans have been announced for commuter rail on this corridor.

Board of Directors[edit]

The Victoria Regional Transit System is overseen by a 7 member transit commission.[13] As of 2013, the board members are:[14]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Buses in Greater Victoria at Wikimedia Commons