Regional District of Nanaimo’s transit select committee will consider provision of bus service every single day of the year.
At Tuesday’s RDN committee of whole meeting, Tyler Brown, Nanaimo director and committee chairman, put forward a motion requesting a report that would examine options and effects of “offering conventional transit service 365 days a year” and a related staff report will be debated at the committee’s Thursday, May 23 meeting.
Transit is not offered on Christmas, New Year’s and Good Friday and the report recommends adding Sunday schedule-like service on those days at the cost of an additional $42,021, beginning on Jan. 1, 2020. Improved statutory holiday service improvement is something ridership has asked for and many stores are open on Sundays and stats, said the report. Service on Boxing Day was first introduced in 2005 and due to popularity is now offered every year, it noted.
The B.C. government has approved an RDN request for a 5,900-hour annual expansion for January 2020 and an expansion plan is expected in July.
In his role as City of Nanaimo councillor, Brown put forward a motion declaring a climate emergency, including an ask for 20,000 additional transit hours. He said the transit select committee motion is somewhat related, in a sense that if the RDN wants more people to use transit, it needs to make it easier to access. Part of that is the need for more effective and efficient transit, according to Brown.
“We also need the service that satisfies everybody on all days of the year,” said Brown. “While modal shift is important and 365 days of transit makes it easier to achieve modal shift when you’re providing a better service, we have to remember that transit is also the only mode of transportation for some people. People with disabilities, people that have lost their licence for a reason, due to age or other circumstance. Maybe they have jobs, maybe it’s just even getting around to visit family when there is days with no service, it has a serious impact on those people.”
If the recommendation is approved by the committee, it will be forwarded to the RDN board for discussion at its May 28 meeting.