Victoria Regional Transit System

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Victoria Regional Transit System
BC Transit logo.svg
Victoria V9505 clip.jpg
Founded1890[1]
Headquarters520 Gorge Road East
Victoria, British Columbia
V8W 9T5
Service typebus service, paratransit
AllianceBC Transit
Routes58
Hubs8[2]
Fleet351[3]
OperatorhandyDART: Farwest
bus service: BC Transit
Websitebctransit.com/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.[4]

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.

A Dennis Trident at Fifth at Beacon stop in downtown Sidney. This bus is part of the first order of low-floor double-decker buses for public transit in Canada.

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 low-floor bus double decker buses in regular public transit service[5] as well as the first city to use hybrid double-decker buses.[6] Victoria followed other BC Transit networks in on February 25, 2020 with the introduction of Compressed Natural Gas vehicles to their fleet.

Until 2019, all BC Transit vehicles in Victoria were equipped with Trekker Breeze+ annunciators to call out streets for the blind. BC Transit's NextRide automated stop and route announcements took the place of the street announcements, along with electronic screens on all buses showing the next stop.[7]

Operations[edit]

The transit system has 260 buses on 37 conventional routes and 18 community bus routes covering Greater Victoria including:[8] 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, Langford Exchange in Langford, and the Colwood Exchange in Colwood.

Routes[edit]

Routes are named for the direction of travel, thus each route has two (or more, if the route utilizes branches or short turns) names, indicating direction. Some routes also change in the evening or on weekends, which changes the route name again.

Routes are divided into three levels:[9]

  • Local routes, which are shown in grey and encompass the majority of routes
  • Frequent routes, which are shown in light blue and have headways of 15 minutes or better Monday to Saturday, 7AM to 7PM
  • Regional routes, which are shown in orange and provide limited-stop service

Some routes, such as 15 Esquimalt / UVic and 50 Langford / Downtown meet the requirements of both the Frequent level and the Regional level, but are listed as Regional routes.

Route frequency in the Victoria Regional Transit System varies greatly, some routes operate on a commuter-focused schedule, such as the 51 UVic / Langford and the 65 Sooke / Downtown via Westhills, with directional departures limited to morning or afternoon times. Other local routes, such as the 13 Ten Mile Point, operate infrequently due to low demand. Only one school special operates in the Victoria Regional Transit System, the 17 Cedar Hill, which operates once per direction per weekday. Other buses operate variants of their standard routes around the bell schedule of local schools. Some routes operate only seasonally, such as the 76 UVic/Swartz Bay.

Cowichan Valley Regional Transit System[edit]

Victoria is also served by three routes in the Cowichan Valley Regional Transit System. While these routes are primarily aimed at commuters, the Saturday 44 bus from Duncan is aimed at those travelling into Victoria for the day.

Late Night Service[edit]

On Friday and Saturday evenings, BC Transit extends service on routes 4, 6, 14, 15, 27/28, and 50 until approximately 1:30 or 2AM. Late Night Service operates with headways of 30 minutes.[9]

Fares[edit]

Current fares are listed in the table below:[11]

Adult (19+) Senior (65+) / Youth (13-18) Children (12 and Under)
Cash Fare $2.50 Free[12]
DayPASS $5.00 (or two tickets)
10 Ticket Pack $22.50
Monthly Pass $85 $45

Children under age five are required be accompanied by someone age twelve or older. Until 1 September 2021, children aged five to twelve were required to pay the Youth fare.[12]

DayPASSes are only sold on board the bus. Since DayPASSes can be bought using two tickets, they can effectively be purchased for $4.50 by purchasing a pack of ten tickets,[13] which have a price of $2.25 per ticket.

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 ($81.00 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.[14]

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]

Vicinity 35' at McTavish Exchange
A Nova Bus LFS stopped on the side of the road in Downtown Victoria.

Expansion possibilities[edit]

A proposal was made in 2011 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.[15] Several options had 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 was projected to cost $950 million. Long term transit network plans outlined potential rapid transit corridors for the future, including two that spanned from Uptown, with a corridor north to the Saanich Peninsula and Sidney, and a corridor east following McKenzie to UVic.

In 2018, British Columbia's Premier John Horgan rejected the idea of light rail service in the Victoria area because the area's low population would not justify light rail.[16]

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 has been replaced due to deterioration, the railway component of the bridge has been permanently closed since in 2011. There is no longer rail on the Downtown side of the Johnson Street Bridge. Rail has not been installed on the new bridge, but may be installed in the future.[17]

BC Transit has studied the E&N rail corridor as a commuter rail link from West Shore to Victoria.[17] A bike path is being built beside the E&N tracks, while allowing rail service to continue.[18] 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 8-member transit commission.[19] As of Feb. 2019, the board members are:[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ About the Transit System
  2. ^ "Transit Exchanges". BC Transit. Retrieved 25 July 2021.
  3. ^ "BC Transit 2017/2018 Annual Service Report" (PDF). BCBudget. Government of British Columbia. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
  4. ^ http://bctransit.com/regions/vic/news/newsreleases/pdf/vic-nr1520.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  5. ^ "A Brief History of Transit in Victoria and the Lower Mainland". Archived from the original on 2008-05-26. Retrieved 2010-03-09.
  6. ^ Transit Commission Minutes March 18/23 2009
  7. ^ Crescenzi, Nicole. "BC Transit launches GPS bus tracking system across Greater Victoria". Victoria News. Black Press. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  8. ^ "Regional Map for Victoria CRD". Bctransit.com. Retrieved 2012-06-21.
  9. ^ a b "Victoria Regional Transit Rider's Guide - June 28, 2021". BC Transit. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  10. ^ "Winter 2022 Changes". BC Transit. Retrieved 7 January 2022.
  11. ^ "Fares - Victoria". BC Transit. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  12. ^ a b "Free Transit for Children 12 and Under". BC Transit. Retrieved 9 August 2021.
  13. ^ "10 Tickets". BC Transit. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  14. ^ BC Transit to eliminate 2-zone fares
  15. ^ "Victoria News - Light rail approval gains speed". Bclocalnews.com. 2011-05-18. Retrieved 2012-06-21.
  16. ^ McCracken, Erin (May 20, 2018). "Editorial: No case for light rail". Times Colonist. Archived from the original on May 22, 2018. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  17. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-10-04. Retrieved 2011-08-10.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ "Parks - E&N Rail Trail Project". Crd.bc.ca. 2011-05-30. Retrieved 2012-06-21.
  19. ^ http://www.bctransit.com/regions/vic/news/commission/
  20. ^ "BC Government News: "New members appointed to Victoria Regional Transit Commission board"". www.bctransit.com. 14 February 2019. Retrieved 2019-03-12.

External links[edit]

Media related to Buses in Greater Victoria at Wikimedia Commons