As a member of the Victoria Regional Transit Commission, I am honoured to serve alongside other elected officials in working to improve transit throughout the region and to alleviate traffic congestion, which is a recognized challenge throughout many areas of the South Island. The Transit Commission is tasked with balancing growing transit service needs within budget constraints while providing safe, frequent and reliable transit service.
Some updates from recent Transit Commission meetings include:
- Sooke's Local Area Plan will be completed in 2018. Transit will be announcing dates and locations in October for residents to meet with transit staff and provide input on how and where transit needs to be improved. This is good news as we now have Federal Census Data, the adopted CRD Regional Growth Strategy and plans to update our local Transportation Plan and Official Community Plan. While Transit always receives information from District staff on subdivision approvals, direct engagement with our citizens is needed in the planning process.
- Provincial approval of a 2 cent per litre increase to the gas tax funding, (approx. $6 million annually) to enable transit to expand infrastructure was obtained.
- Transit service expansions take up to 18 months to be actualized, as budgets require approval, funding sources require confirmation, buses need to be ordered and operators hired.
- A new route has been established to connect Westhills (in Langford) with UVIC, with a stop at Victoria General Hospital. Sooke residents commuting to UVIC or destinations in between, may consider the new route and transfer to it off the 61 or cycle, carpool or drive to a Westshore Park and Ride.
- The Transit Future Plan, completed in 2011, provides a framework on how expansion will unfold in the coming years. Neighbourhood Service Plans are also completed to focus on the needs of specific areas and examine how neighbourhoods connect to one another. Routes may be created and/or altered in response to development and rider feedback.
- Transit staff continue work with the municipalities of Saanich, Colwood and View Royal along with the Provincial Ministry of Transportation to continue development of the dedicated bus lane that was completed in Victoria (Mayfair to downtown). Once completed, the dedicated lane will reduce travel time by 25 minutes.