The Regional District of Nanaimo is proposing to add 5,000 hours to its transit service beginning in September of 2018. — NEWS file photo

The Regional District of Nanaimo is proposing to add 5,000 hours to its transit service beginning in September of 2018. — NEWS file photo

RDN plans to add 5,000 hours to transit services

Staff directed to work with BC Transit for implementation plan for 2018

The Regional District of Nanaimo Transit Select Committee is looking at expanding conventional transit services by another 5,000 hours, starting in September of 2018.

RDN staff has been directed to work with with BC Transit to develop an implementation plan for the regional district board’s approval. The RDN Transit Future Plan has set a transit mode share target of five per cent for all trips by 2039. To that end, it would require the RDN Transit system to grow to 13.5 million trips per year from 2.7 million.

Erica Beauchamp, RDN’s superintendent of transit planning and scheduling, reported to the committee that to achieve its goal, annual regular expansions to the transit system of 5,000-hour increments is necessary.

The RDN Transit’s three-year operating plan from 2017 to 2020 includes 15,000 annual expansion hours, in 5,000-hour increments per year, in order to hit goals that include enhancing current service along the local transit network, restructuring service to the southern Nanaimo communities, and establishing routes to other transportation hubs.

Beauchamp reported that a 5,000-hour annual transit expansion will enable ridership growth and continued improvements within the system.

To meet BC Transit’s timeline to order vehicles, the RDN must inform BC Transit by the end of this year, if the regional district supports a 5,000-hour annual transit expansion for September 2018.

The cost of a 5,000-hour annual conventional transit expansion is approximately $330,000 and is included in the proposed 2018 budget and five-year financial plan.

The committee endorsed staff recommendation for the board’s approval. It was opposed by Electoral Area C Director Maureen Young, Electoral Area H Director and RDN Chair Bill Veenhof and Nanaimo director Bill Bestwick.