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Victoria Regional Transit System

The Victoria Regional Transit System serves 312,000 persons in a 400-square-kilometre area with a peak fleet in operation of 178 buses operating on 36 conventional routes and 40 vans providing custom door-to-door service for people with disabilities. Ridership in 2000/02 is estimated to reach 19.2 Million passengers.

Service Highlights

Recent achievements of the system include:

Introduction of U-PASS at University of Victoria and Camosun College

The most significant change in Victoria's transit environment was the introduction of the U-PASS at the University of Victoria and Camosun College. In March 1999, students voted to pay a mandatory fee toward transit so that all students could enjoy the convenience of transit during their study terms and at the same time help cut down on automobile congestion, parking demand and other environmental impacts at the campuses.

On August 23, more than 21,000 students were able to use their semester bus passes, and in September more bus service was provided to all campuses. In January 2000, a new transit route connecting both Camosun campuses was introduced. Transit ridership is up on all routes heading to UVic and Camosun, and preliminary studies show bus occupancy for arrival at the University increased approximately 25 per cent.

Introduction of Finlayson Crosstown Route

In January, a new crosstown bus route, the #8 Finlayson, was introduced, running from south Oak Bay to Camosun's Interurban campus. The route goes through three municipalities and includes three large malls, the two Camosun campuses, Royal Jubilee Hospital, and Oak Bay Village. The Victoria Regional Transit Commission held public meetings and information sessions over the course of a year before the route design was finalized.

Increased Use of Langford Transit Centre

Activity increased at Langford Transit Centre (LTC), with approximately 30 buses operating daily from this site. Buses are fueled and cleaned and fareboxes cleared at the centre but the site continued to operate as a satellite with no administration staff regularly assigned to work there. Facilities include a number of improvements which reduce environmental impact including treatment of water from site runoff and state-of-the-art light and heating systems. Increased fleet and additional functions will be added as service levels in the region expand over the next several years.

Increased Commitment to Customer Service

BC Transit has implemented a database to track feedback from operators in Victoria. Customer feedback is an essential element in designing transit services, and much of the feedback from customers comes in the form of remarks to transit operators, who in turn provide input to operations supervisors. The database means that all input from customers and operators is recorded, and planning, scheduling and other issues are addressed as soon as possible.

Ticket Assistance Program Increased

A total of 10,000 bus tickets were distributed through the Ticket Assistance Program in 1999/2000. The program, started by the Victoria Regional Transit Commission in 1997, in partnership with the Victoria Community Social Planning Council, provides free tickets to agencies whose clients are individuals with low income. In March, 2000, at the request of the Council, the Commission agreed to increase the donation of free tickets to 15,000 for the year 2000/2001. The agencies involved in the program must purchase at the regular price at least as many tickets for their clients as they receive for free.

Accessible Services

handyDART service was expanded during the year with four more vans and a 7% increase in service hours. There was also an increase in the TaxiSaver program, allowing clients to purchase up to $120 worth of coupons for $60 every two months (each book costing $30), re-instituting the program to the level funded prior to 1998.

Travel Options TM Program for Employers

BC Transit, with funding from Environment Canada, developed a Travel Options TM program to help companies reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles travelling to their worksites. The program consists of both training sessions and an information website at www.bctransit.com

Training sessions were held in Victoria, Central Fraser Valley, the Kelowna Region, the Nanaimo Region, Nelson and Whistler. The website will continue to expand in 2000/01, with plans to further develop information on individual systems and interactive schedules. This grown-in-B.C. program will also be extended to 10 communities across Canada.

Off-Ramp Program in Secondary Schools

The Off-Ramp program was created to provide education on transportation issues for secondary students. The training program was developed to fit into existing curriculum in secondary schools, raising students' recognition of the link between personal driving habits and environmental impacts such as traffic congestion, air quality and climate change.

Funding partners include BC Transit, Better Environmentally Sound Transportation, Climate Change Public Outreach Fund, Insurance Corporation of BC and VanCity Credit Union. The first phase was launched by identifying seven schools to participate, two in Victoria and five in the Lower Mainland. A manual was developed to provide students with a step-by-step guide to achieve desired results in their schools by June 2000.

Environmental Upgrading at Victoria Transit Facility

Over the past year, environmental upgrading at the Gorge Road Victoria Transit Centre, built in the 1940s, has focussed on four areas: storage of hazardous materials, completion of the yard drainage intercept system, completion of the installation of the oily water treatment equipment, and completion of an environmental protection manual and related staff training.

Bike Racks Installed on all Low Floor Buses in Victoria

In 1997, bike racks were installed on 61 low floor buses serving Victoria's suburban routes. In 1999, an agreement was reached with Obie Media, the company handling advertising sales for the Victoria Regional Transit System, to provide a $20,000 contribution to cover half the cost of the purchase and installation of bike racks on the remaining 44 low floor buses. Bike racks will be installed on all buses delivered in the future.

Performance & Financial Summary