When buses are stuck in traffic right alongside everyone else in their cars, it’s a tough sell getting people to choose the greener option.

But if there was a way to get buses moving past the gridlock, well that would be a different story?

“It would be faster, cheaper for me than driving down there and I wouldn’t have to worry about parking,” said West Shore resident Dave Betts.

“It would need a lot of improvements before I would rely on them,” said Mathew Biller.

And the province is trying to do get that done to get people on the bus moving quicker in and out of the West Shore.

On Monday, work began at the intersection of Jacklin and Sooke roads for the latest improvement on the quest to get people out of their cars: a bus queue jump lane.

“It’s really going to help people coming in from Sooke that are commuting from the West Shore into downtown Victoria,” Planning Manager for BC Transit James Wadsworth said.

Using a bus priority signal, buses get to bypass congestion and traffic build-up from the intersection.

The lane will then continue after the intersection along Highway 14 before buses will merge back with the flow of traffic.

A bus queue jump lane is already in place northbound at the Mackenzie interchange but it’s only about 10 meters long. The one being added on Jacklin will be 100 meters in length.

While a 100-metre head start may not seem like much, Wadsworth says when you take other improvements like the bus-only lanes on Douglas street and other bus queue jump lanes already in place into consideration, they’re able to shed about 20 minutes from the daily commute.

“Every time we get a chance to make investments like this it supports getting people to take transit and supports the vision of the transit future plan which is the long-term vision for transit around the region,” said Wadsworth.

The bus lane is part of a $2 million investment by the B.C. government for a series of improvements to make Highway 14 safer and more efficient for drivers, transit users, cyclists, and pedestrians, many of which have been completed.

Sooke’s Mayor Maja Tait says while it’s all appreciated, she hopes to see more.

“Where we do know that there are high impact areas and lowered visibility I’d like to know what is being planned for that,” said Tait.

Work is expected to wrap up summer 2019.

Luisa Alvarez