Transit is changing.
RDN transit operations manager Daniel Pearce explained as of this past Sunday, Parksville route 88 will operate with a smaller “community” bus that has a 20-person capacity, compared to the former, conventional bus that had a 60 person capacity.
Pearce said it’s “still 100 per cent wheelchair accessible” but it’s a little cheaper and “less intimidating” for riders.
He said there’s also a new stop at the transit shelter set up in front of Wembley Mall along Highway 19A and one in front of the new B.C. Liquor Store location.
Route 88 will also provide service to the Oceanside Health Centre, which it wasn’t able to do before as the large bus couldn’t get into the health centre’s parking lot.
Pearce said the changes came about from discussions with the community, the planning process and input from the regional district’s transit committee representative Parksville Mayor Marc Lefebvre.
“This is something I’ve been hearing for a long time,” said Lefebvre, referring to the original buses being too big. “The larger buses take up too much room on our roads… The real issue is that the bigger buses aren’t properly occupied, their volume (of riders) didn’t warrant that kind of bus.”
Lefebvre said he’s hoping the transition to smaller buses will open up more room for growth in terms of transit routes.
“Eventually what I want to talk about at the transit committee is having smaller buses go into different locations within the city of Parksville, maybe they can go up to Maple Glen one day.” Lefebvre said he’s excited to see the transit changes in action and invited Pearce to give a presentation to Parksville city council tomorrow night on the changes.
Meanwhile, there will be new route 40 VIU Express frequent transit network which connects downtown Nanaimo, Vancouver Island University, Country Club, Nanaimo North Town Centre and Woodgrove. This route offers two-way service on major corridors during peak times.