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First RapidBus route, between West Shore and Victoria, to launch in April

The new RapidBus service promises service every 15 minutes and fewer stops.
B.C. Transit bus travels on Douglas Street near Kings Road on the way to Langford. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Bus riders who travel between the West Shore and downtown Victoria can look forward to more buses, fewer stops and more certainty starting April 10, when B.C. Transit launches its first RapidBus route. The route will replace the existing Route 50 Langford/Downtown service.

B.C. Transit said riders can expect a bus to arrive at least every 15 minutes at RapidBus stops, ramping up to a bus every seven to eight minutes during peak periods.

B.C. Transit director of strategic planning Matthew Boyd said those riding the bus won’t see a dramatic change in the length of time it takes to get to their destination, although there will be less waiting and fewer stops — the number of stops between the West Shore and downtown will be reduced by seven stops in each direction.

Buses are expected to run at least every 15 minutes between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and on Sundays between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Boyd said a number of details will be revealed later, including where the RapidBus stops will be, what the buses will look like and new dedicated bus lanes.

He said the province is expected to announce funding for transit priority infrastructure soon that will extend bus-only lanes from the intersection of the Island Highway and Tillicum Road to the West Shore, although the timing and budget still have to be determined.

One of the changes people will see in April is a series of small hubs along the RapidBus route.

“We want those bus stops to feel like stations in the sense that you can just show up and you know that there’s going to be a bus and you don’t have to wait long, you don’t have to check your schedule, and you know that the bus is going to be reliable, fast and comfortable,” Boyd said. “We’re trying to change the overall experience of transit and we’ve identified the West Shore-downtown corridor as the top flagship for that, largely because it’s the busiest route in our system.”

That route sees 10,000 boardings every day.

Other routes will also get the RapidBus treatment.

The Victoria Regional RapidBus Implementation Strategy has identified additional potential corridors for rapid bus travel along McKenzie Avenue between Uptown and the University of Victoria, and between downtown and the Saanich Peninsula.

Boyd said fares for RapidBus will be the same as for other routes. B.C. Transit expects to unveil its new electronic fare-card system this spring.

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