Victoria and Nanaimo’s transit systems are getting some new, smaller wheels as BC Transit buys 28 new handyDART buses to operate in the two cities.
Victoria is already seeing 13 new, light-duty buses hitting the streets in action, starting operation on Thursday.
The Regional District of Nanaimo is set to expect and additional 15 small buses in mid-June.
The 13 additions in Victoria will replace existing buses in the fleet that are nearing the end of their service life.
In Nanaimo, 14 will replace aging buses, and one new bus will replace a light-duty bus temporarily activated in January to expand service.
This new expansion on the Island is all part of a wider plan to add nearly 70 new light-duty buses in select transit systems across the province over the coming months.
Each new bus costs approximately $176,000, bringing the estimated total for the Island’s 28 new buses to just over $4.9 million.
All buses will be fitted with a temporary vinyl panel to protect the health of both drivers and passengers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
That’s not all that’s new. Each 26-foot light-duty Micro Bird G5 handyDART is equipped with a lift system near the rear of the bus to provide safe loading and unloading of mobility aids.
Each small bus can carry up to 20 passengers and can provide flexibility for up to four mobility aids.
They also feature an LED destination sign, modern-style vinyl seating, white noise tonal back-up alarm and an integrated back-up camera.
BC Transit says these features will improve the safety, cleanliness and customer experience for handyDART service.
The bus company previously announced it will be accepting fares once again in June, after providing free service during the pandemic.
Fares and pass prices are also changing soon in regions across Vancouver Island, starting next month.