Transit service to expand – as will the fare

While transit users will be facing a 25-cent fare increase in the new year, they will also be receiving improved service.

While transit users will be facing a 25-cent fare increase in the new year, they will also be receiving improved service.

Bus travel in the Nanaimo area is about to get easier and more convenient thanks to a 5,000 service-hour expansion scheduled for March 4, 2012.

On Nov. 22, the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) board voted to approve an expanded transit service.

On Tuesday, Dec. 6, the RDN Transit System and BC Transit are hosting an open house from 12 to 8 p.m. at Beban Park in Nanaimo to explain the specifics of this expansion to current and future riders.

“This significant increase in transit service will mostly be noticeable to City of Nanaimo transit users, but there will also be improvements for residents of the Bowser area, and for commuters who travel to Nanaimo from the Oceanside area,” explained RDN Transit Select Committee Chair Bill Holdom.

“This open house will give our ridership the opportunity to take a look at these service improvements, ask questions and provide feedback about Regional District of Nanaimo Transit.”

The expanded transit service will include more frequent trips to commercial areas and major hubs including Departure Bay Ferry Terminal, Vancouver Island University and Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, and will increase convenience for residents who use the system for day-to-day commuting.

“Expanded and improved transit service will support the growing demand of our customers in Nanaimo,” said BC Transit President and CEO Manuel Achadinha. “Working with our local partners and gathering public feedback on these enhancements will help ensure that transit is effective, efficient, and provides the best value for our customers.”

The board also approved a partnership with Woodgrove Mall that will see New Year’s Day transit service.

Normally the RDN buses are parked on the statutory holiday but on January 1, 2012 the buses will be rolling with Woodgrove Mall picking up half the operating cost.

The estimated cost for the service is $17,900, not including any cash fares.  The total cost to the RDN would be approximately $8,900 minus any cash fares.

Staff said that given the essential role of public transit in a sustainable region, running the buses will keep cars off the road and result in a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and that is one of the primary goals of the Transit Department.

For more information about the Dec. 6 open house or the Regional District of Nanaimo Transit System service expansion, call 250-390-6565 or 250-954-1001.

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