Greater Victoria to receive $1.63 million for transit upgrades

Greater Victoria to receive $1.63 million for transit upgrades

WATCH: The Victoria Regional Transit Commission says a one-time $1.63 million cash injection by the province will add buses and reduce wait times. Calvin To reports.

Transit riders in Greater Victoria will soon see shorter wait times, according to the Victoria Regional Transit Commission.

The commission voted Monday to accept a one-time $1.63 million cash injection from the province on the condition that further negotiations continue regarding future funding.

The funds will go towards eight new buses and 20,000 additional service hours.

Routes that see heavy ridership, such as those serving the University of Victoria, Royal Roads University and Camosun College, will be among those seeing improvements. 

Changes will be in effect in September.

“I have every confidence that throughout this time, we will find a long term solution, and that it will not only be maintained, but my hope is that we will even see further growth in the future,” says Victoria Regional Transit Commission Chair Susan Brice.

This comes after recent fears that cutbacks would be necessary after the province said it would no longer give transit a larger portion of the gasoline tax.

Greater Victoria has been seeing an increase in ridership in recent years as the region expands. 

It is not uncommon for drivers to have to pass up riders because their buses are full.

“If we do not start putting more of a focus on transit solutions, we’re only going to see the traffic congestion get worse in greater Victoria,” says Ben Williams, president of Unifor Local 333, the union that represents drivers in the capital region.

He says two to three per cent of drive time is eaten up by congestion every year, leading to fewer trips and longer commutes.

12,000 of the 20,000 service hours will go to meeting current demand, according to Williams. 

The remaining 8,000 will be for service improvements.


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