BC Transit has borrowed buses from the province’s interior to help with trip cancellations across Greater Victoria.
BC Transit communications manager Jonathon Dyck confirmed seven additional buses have been introduced to Greater Victoria as an interim measure to prevent the delays and route cancellations experienced by riders in September and October.
On Sept. 25, 20 routes were impacted by cancellations, which BC Transit chalked up to a shortage of vehicles.
“What we saw in September was that a lot of the trip cancellations were due to vehicles not being available,” Dyck says. “We do apologize to customers that that has had an impact on them, we know it does impact their ability to get to work or get to school.”
Traffic, crashes, construction and driver illness or unavailability also impacts routes but Dyck says that despite the cancellations, 99 per cent of BC Transit services have been in full operation in the region, with over 3,200 trips completed each week day.
“But we recognize that those statistics are meaningless if its your bus that is cancelled,” he says. “So we have been working hard to implement operational changes.”
The seven buses were brought in from Kelowna and the Central Fraser Valley to take pressure of the 304-bus fleet already operating in the region. The borrowed vehicles are two-year-old, standard 40-foot buses.
Dyck says they are temporary and will operate in Greater Victoria only until new vehicles arrive – 80 buses are being brought into Victoria in 2020, some of which will be compressed natural gas models. But only eight of the 2020 buses are add-ons to the region’s 304. The other 72 will be replacing older models.
“Our system right now has an average age of 12 years, by next year that should drop down to six,” Dyck says.
Even with a vehicle shortage, ridership has increased in Victoria. September 2019 saw 10 per cent more riders than September 2018. Dyck says bus lanes and service programs like the app NextRide might be to thank for the growing number of transit users.
“There has been improvements to the system and I think that’s what customers are seeing,” he says. “One of the big pieces is we want to be as on time as possible and that’s something we’re working to improve.”
BC Transit encourages riders use the NextRide app or sign up for alerts to stay on top of any changes to their route.
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