With the goal of connecting the Island by transit, two mid-Island regional district directors are asking the province to close the gaps and create an inter-regional public transportation system.
In a letter co-written by Daniel Arbour, Comox Valley Regional District director and Stuart Mclean, Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) director and chair of the RDN’s Transit Select Committee, they said the Island has failed to establish commuter-focused, inter-regional public transportation.
The pair explained simple solutions exist as the province and BC Transit could close three small transit gaps that would provide connectivity between Campbell River, Port Alberni and Victoria.
“We are asking the province to step in; there’s already now been a couple of times the private model has failed,” Arbour told The Record. “Transit buses are already on the road, and if we close the gaps, we just need a little synergy of the schedules.”
He added the reasons the connected transit system hasn’t already happened is that it has not been previously presented to the province and that regional districts normally look at their internal services, and not those across the Island.
“We want to bring some public attention, we need some leadership and funding; it’s such an easy solution … in the scheme of costs of the transit system, it’s very minimal.”
In some cases, it is a matter of adding eight kilometres between routes, potentially an extra hour of service, said Arbour.
The number 10 bus which comes from Courtenay stops in Mud Bay, south of Fanny Bay. Bus service in the RDN begins on bus 99 in Deep Bay. He added in Victoria, many gaps are covered, but a more difficult, larger gap to bridge is one between Port Alberni and Qualicum Beach.
He added there is a short gap between the Nanaimo Airport and Ladysmith, and in 2019, the RDN passed resolutions asking for help to move forward on closing the gap. BC Transit has facilitated the connection between the RDN and the Cowichan Valley Regional District - service should commence in September 2022.
“The goal for the province should be to provide stability and reliability as a public service for years to come.”