EDITORIAL: Timing is right for transit study

Hopefully move will help find efficiencies needed to entice more drivers to use transit

The move by the Greater Victoria Transit Commission to study five high-traffic volume sections over the next year, with an eye to making them more efficient, is good news for transportation in the Capital Region.

The $250,000 study is the kind of expense and planning activity we expect the transit commission to engage in as a way to improve its product and reduce delays for passengers.

Taking action on the final recommendations, in co-operation with municipal and provincial governments, will go a long way toward helping B.C. Transit with another of its constant struggles.

That challenge? Convincing more of the thousands of people who still drive to and from work daily that the perceived or real inconvenience of not having their car readily available outweighs the pain of creeping along in traffic twice a day. That, of course, also assumes that the cost of taking transit is comparable or even less than driving.

For those who oversee and plan transit in the Capital Region, that objective must be reached to a significant degree before any work begins on building a light-rail transit system.

Like the Kevin Costner character in the movie Field of Dreams, who was told by baseball spirits to “build it and they will come,” the transit commission is banking on the notion that people will leave their cars at home in far greater numbers once LRT is in place.

Even when (or if) LRT comes to Greater Victoria, it’s not as if the bus system will play second fiddle to rail.

In fact, the bus system will be more important than ever as the public finds new ways to connect with the LRT.

Looking for ways to make the current system more efficient and user-friendly just makes sense as a way to ramp up its capacity – the ability to move more passengers in the same amount of time or less – and overall ridership in the years leading up to the addition of LRT to the regional transit system.

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