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BC Transit (Victoria Regional Transit System) news and issues


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#1 Galvanized

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 10:55 AM

I thought I'd start a thread on Transit News. Post any info on upcoming projects, changes, expansion and news about transit on the lower island.

Novabus trio hits the road
Fuel-efficient vehicles cut down on emissions
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"Having the computer oversee the engine fuel efficiency and burn ratio makes a whole lot of difference," says B.C. Transit driver and trainer Barry George, shown here at the wheel of a $475,000 Novabus.
Photograph by : Debra Brash, Times Colonist
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Font: * * * * Jeff Bell, Times Colonist
Published: Wednesday, July 26, 2006
The new-bus smell that comes with the latest member of the B.C. Transit fleet isn't just on the inside.

While an unmistakable fresh-from-the-factory aroma permeates every interior nook of the 36-seat, 12.5-metre-long Novabus, it's the virtually odour-free exhaust that transforms the Montreal-made product into something different.

Three of the $475,000 people-movers will debut on local roads today, with a complement of eight to be on the move by the time service is increased on major routes in September.

Transit vice-president Ron Drolet said the Novabus is "phenomenally clean," following a trend over the past decade that has seen average bus emissions drop by 90 per cent or more.

"What you see coming out of the Novabus is slightly opaque. There's no black smoke," he said. Hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide in particular are cut down in the Novabus, which is fitted to use the new ultra-low-sulphur diesel fuel set to come on the market this year.

B.C. Transit's investment with Novabus, a Volvo-owned company, comes just over a year after three diesel-electric "hybrid" buses were put into use in Greater Victoria. Also a technological breakthrough, the hybrids have similarly low emissions and have begun to prove their worth in fuel savings.

The Novabus is a model of fuel-efficiency as well, Drolet said.

"The interesting thing is the difference between the hybrid fuel efficiency and our old Flyer fleet is about 26 per cent," he said. But with the Novabus, the difference is closer to 10 per cent. "So all of a sudden, the conventional diesel technology has upped the ante here."

Victoria's hybrid buses also have individual price tags of $830,000, so it could take up to 10 years for the added capital cost to be recouped with the drop in fuel use.

Transit driver and trainer Barry George is already a fan of the Novabus, which has so far appeared in Nanaimo, Prince George, Kelowna and Kamloops. The eight slated for Victoria bring the B.C. total to 31.

"They're working out quite nicely, and they have some of the latest accessible technology," George said.

A number of features contribute to the exceptional emission controls in the Novabus, including a steel frame that puts its weight about 900 kilograms below other models of equal dimensions.

"And there are seven computers systems in here," George said. "Having the computer oversee the engine fuel efficiency and burn ratio makes a whole lot of difference in how this thing performs at all levels."

For commuters looking to beat the summer heat, the Novabus is fully air-conditioned, a feature that George said will be useful during the rains of winter in keeping windows from fogging up.

George likes the more basic aspects of the Novabus, too, like the windshield -- which seems large even by bus standards."It's a great piece of glass. From a driver's perspective, this has great visibility."

Bringing in technologically advanced vehicles such as hybrids and the Novabus is part of an ongoing effort to keep the local fleet of about 220 buses as modern and up-to-date as possible, George said.

Transit drivers are being trained on the Novabus to learn its slightly different operating systems, he said.


"Having the computer oversee the engine fuel efficiency and burn ratio makes a whole lot of difference," says B.C. Transit driver and trainer Barry George, shown here at the wheel of a $475,000 Novabus.
Photograph by : Debra Brash, Times Colonist





Past President of Victoria's Flâneur Union Local 1862

#2 Lover Fighter

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Posted 04 August 2006 - 01:58 PM

Well, just had my first ride on a NOVABUS yesterday.
I somehow missed that they were being added to the BC Transit fleet, so I didn't recognize the thing coming down Douglas until I recognized the sign that read "#22 Hillside Mall" at the last moment. They're funny things, and the inside reminded me of the ground-floor of a double-decker bus, except with half of the back closed off.

#3 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 04 August 2006 - 03:31 PM

It looks cool, that's for sure.

Like those futuristic police cars in RoboCop...


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#4 Mike K.

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Posted 04 August 2006 - 05:15 PM

Hey Galvanized, got any word on transit updates for the Fall?

Skyscraper Source Media Inc.

July 15, 2014: [Mayor] Fortin told C-FAX's Bruce Williams that he expects the [Johnson Street Bridge] project to be completed "on time and on budget."


#5 Galvanized

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 10:03 AM

As far as I can tell much of the expansion is catching up the service on routes 6,14,27/28 and so on due the high number of pass ups etc. Also, there are 2 new shuttle routes in Langford and Sooke, the #53 will serve the Selwyn Rd area of Langford and the #63 will be a local Sooke bus. The exciting changes won't happen till September 2007 if they find the funding, currently the Province still won't allow the gas tax increase they've been seeking for years now. So it's looking like a fare increase to me, I'm gonna guess this April but we have to see what happens, the commission meets in September to discuss it.

Taken from the minutes of the June 13/06 transit commission meeting in reagrds to 2007 expansion;

If the service expansion option is implemented in September 2007, the next
significant steps will be taken towards the Bus Rapid Transit network outlined in
the Rapid Transit Network Development Plan presented to the Commission in
June 2005.
The expansion plan for 2007 would also include increases in the Western
Communities and on a number of the busiest routes serving the major activity
centres in the region.
The Rapid Bus plan would include the following:
• Limited stop service between Downtown and Langford terminus during
weekday peak hours (approximately 630 AM to 830 AM and from 3 PM to
530 PM). Buses would stop at all stops downtown then only at limited stops
until reaching the Langford terminus.
• 5 minute peak direction frequency and 10 minute off-peak direction
frequency between Langford terminus and downtown Victoria and 15
minute off-peak frequency in both directions.
• New community bus service providing local coverage in Langford and
Colwood replacing the 50 Goldstream service (which would now stop only
at limited stops).
• Significant increases in local community bus services to connect with the
expanded Rapid Bus service. Buses would serve the primary Colwood and
Langford neighbourhoods every 15 minutes (now generally 30 minutes or
less) and 30 minute service would be provided to the rural community of
Metchosin. Service now provided irregularly to Triangle Mountain, Selwyn
and Langford Meadows would be increased to every 30 minutes.
Other service increases anticipated in the region under Expansion funding include:
• A general service increase allowance of 1% to address traffic congestion or
capacity issues including close monitoring of service to major employment
and travel nodes such as Keating, CFB Esquimalt, UVIC, and Swartz Bay.
• Route extension of the northern portion of the 24/25 to provide better
connections to future McKenzie Express buses and to regional and local
growth centers in the Quadra/McKenzie and University Heights areas.
Past President of Victoria's Flâneur Union Local 1862

#6 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 12:48 PM

Last time they talked fare increase, one part that was on the table was making transfers valid for 2-way travel within a certain time.... ie. if I take a trip out to Hillside Mall, run in for 3 minutes, I can grab a bus going back home for no extra charge. That makes a LOT of sense to me, but the idea seemed to disappear last time. A $2 trip to the mall is nicer than a $4 one, if I'm just going for a bottle of hairspray.
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#7 Jarrod

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 01:08 PM

I think that if they raise the fair again a lot of people will stop taking the bus.

I don't really use the buses that often anymore just because I can walk to certain places faster then taking the bus. Where I live I can walk to Hillside, Downtown, Camosun, and Oak Bay.

If they were to raise the fair, I would expect extreme frequency. But again, that's what I would think. Otherwise it would be not worth the time.

#8 Mike K.

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 06:07 PM

Whoa, the 2007 expansion is a biggie. Thanks for that.

Skyscraper Source Media Inc.

July 15, 2014: [Mayor] Fortin told C-FAX's Bruce Williams that he expects the [Johnson Street Bridge] project to be completed "on time and on budget."


#9 HOMBRE

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Posted 15 August 2006 - 09:23 AM

i just saw my first nova bus yesterday, and i must say its funky looking. High tech!

#10 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 11:15 AM

A new "traffic signal management" program is being tested along Douglas Street. A sensor at each traffic light can determine if a bus is approaching, then delay the change in signals to allow it to get through the intersection.

The system should be operational some time in October and should help traffic flow along Douglas Street, said Drolet.


Now, they ought to sell the transponder that the buses will be equiped with to individual motorists too, for like $500 a year.

Transit routes adjustments to handle crush of students
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Font: * * * * Sandra McCulloch, Times Colonist
Published: Thursday, September 07, 2006
B.C. Transit is assessing where to add more buses to heavily used routes as the annual crush of students leaves some passengers at the curb.

Ridership rises to more than two million in September from 1.5 million in August.

The overflowing buses are an annual event, said B.C. Transit's Ron Drolet, but everything should settle down soon -- as it always does.

"The main routes that are heavy are those into the downtown and those serving the university and Camosun, especially Camosun's Lansdowne campus," Drolet said on Wednesday.

Especially heavy are the No. 4, 14 and 26 routes, he said, "and the thing we always tell the students is there will be 'pass-ups' in the first few weeks where buses will go by because they'll be jammed.

"But between the multiple routes on some of those corridors, there's going to be another bus in a few minutes."

Changes that came into effect Tuesday include new routes, along with some routes that have been cancelled or had their timetables changed.

More buses are added to service UVic and the Interurban campus of Camosun during weekdays.

Other changes include the cancellation of No. 72 via West Sidney, while the 72 via Lochside has been merged with 70.

The first outbound 70 Airport Express via Tanner ridge will provide service for employees commuting to West Corporation on Keating X Road.

Five to eight extra buses will be assigned to routes where the passenger load is usually heavy, Drolet said.

"For now, we have that resource that we use to target those super-peaks and put them in the right routes at the biggest times."

Those extra buses will be permanently added to routes if warranted, he said. On a normal day, 180 buses out of the 211 in the fleet are on the road.

The introduction of the U-Pass program in 1999, which automatically included bus-pass fees in tuition at UVic and Camosun, has contributed to ballooning numbers of passengers each September.

Of 420 transit operators, 30 are new drivers hired to offset retirements.

A new "traffic signal management" program is being tested along Douglas Street. A sensor at each traffic light can determine if a bus is approaching, then delay the change in signals to allow it to get through the intersection.

The system should be operational some time in October and should help traffic flow along Douglas Street, said Drolet.

Visit http://www.bctransit.com for rates or a complete explanation of routes, or call 382-6161.
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#11 Holden West

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 11:49 AM

Walking down Fort St. the other day I heard an unusual engine noise behind me--I turned around and one of the new Nova buses was approaching. They definitely don't sound as harsh as the usual old diesels.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#12 Jarrod

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 12:41 PM

Okay. I love the #14 route. It maybe the most busiest, but it's a nice bus route. I take it every morning. But I have found out about the #33 which arrives at about 8:07 on Richmond and Fort. It's awesome because it's not that crowded.

This morning around 8am, there were 3 #14's and 1 #33...it was crazy. And they were ALL full.

Buses are fun. I'm glad I don't drive really. I prefer to either take the bus or walk.

#13 Holden West

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 12:51 PM

Monday Magazine - Last Word

Get On The Bus

By MARK MURPHY
Sep 06 2006

Take a relaxing trip on the "loser cruiser"

I f you're in no particular hurry, making your way out to Sidney on the Saturday morning double-decker Pat Bay bus can be a peaceful and leisurely experience.

Or not.

Like the morning a half-dozen young Italian tourists boarded to continue their obviously exciting holiday to Vancouver. I made out "English Bay" and "Stanley Park" before their conversation reached a volume and velocity that sounded like Farsi funeral wailing.

Or another time when members of a family were off to the lower mainland for part two of a reunion that had started the night before. And what a night it apparently was; clearly, they had overdone it. Reminiscing, they laughed and cryed and laughed again, building to a screaming crescendo, then seemed to remember their own headaches and quieted down once more . . . only to start up again, each getting the next one going, making macro sound waves.

But last week took the cake.

We're just about to break out of downtown's gravity at Vernon Street behind the Save-On-Foods store around 11 a.m. when two seemingly physically-challenged souls board the bus. Looking down from the top level, I see one reappear, drain a beer can, place it on the bus stop bench beside another I hadn't noticed, then get back on the bus.

Emerging from the stairway to the upper deck, bouncing off each other, they look like guys the Trailer Park Boys would avoid. Recognizing some like-minded souls, they go to the back of the bus to party down.

The conversation starts out rude and loud, and quickly goes downhill from there. The beer-can guy is doing most of the talking. In their minds, these are a couple of hip young white dudes off to Sidney to do some "bidniss." It soon becomes known to everyone within hearing distance that they're going to Sidney to sell heroin and crack-and that they've got plenty of both on them.

Then the questions start flying: You guys know what it's like to be in jail? Don't we know you guys from some place? Where ya work? Where ya hang out on Friday night? Who's your friend?

Fed up with the interrogation, one of the other guys says, "You got a lotta questions. We oughta call you, 'Questions.'"

Thoughtfully, our lad replies, "We oughta call you '*****.'"

With this bit of Wilkie Road bravado, he lifts the half-butt he's been waving in the air and lights it with the lighter he's been waving with the other hand. The flame goes to the tip of the cigarette, he inhales and lets a waft of smoke out that immediately travels through the vent above him to the face of the bus driver downstairs. One nanosecond later, the bus pulls over and the driver is standing at the top of the stairway, arm outstretched, pointing at the offender.

"You smoking?!"

Somehow, he's gained some composure and managed to put the damn thing out.

"No. See? It's not lit."

"You were smoking! Off the bus! Right now! You want to get off the bus or you want me to call Saanich?"

The probability of the Saanich cops arriving on the scene is apparently not a good vision for these guys, so they're up and off the bus quick.

Looking out the window, I see them hit the sidewalk. They've got some last minute wisdom for the bus driver before the doors close: "We make more money than you!" Yeah, this is undoubtedly why they're tooling around in the "loser cruiser."

The sight of them making obscene hand gestures at the disappearing bus as we trundle away down East Saanich Road is pleasant. The sun filters through the trees and I'm allowed to daydream about what I'll pick up for dinner at the market on my way home. Ah, sweet dreams . . .

"I KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN!"

A new loudmouth has gotten onto the bus and is sitting behind to my left. He's talking very loudly and very importantly into his cell phone. You can tell by his tone that's he's upset and impatient.

"We were supposed to meet up! What are you planning on doing now? Why aren't you here?"

He keeps up the aggravating noise for a few blocks then looks up and surveys the bus. He spots the two guys at the back and says, "Was there a couple of guys . . ."

"Yeah, man," comes the reply. "They were kicked off for smoking."

You got it. He's talking on the cell phone with the dickheads who were left with their thumbs up their butts back on East Saanich. He continues to blast away through the cell phone when, quite suddenly, he blanches and falls silent. Apparently he's realized that his business associates are the talkative sort and likely have announced their intentions to all and sundry.

We're quiet the rest of the trip down scenic Lochside Drive and through downtown Sidney, where we leave the Important Business Man to meet up with his comrades.

I get out before the long blue walkway over the highway and head to the Sandown Raceway where the peaceful tattoo of the bugles and the announcer's rapid-fire auctioneer's delivery promises relative tranquillity.

Next week will undoubtedly be a quieter trip. M

Mark Murphy spent his Saturdays this summer photographing racehorses out at Sandown Raceway.

Get the Last Word. Monday welcomes personal and/or humorous essays, 800-1,000 words in length. E-mail submissions to mailto:lastword@mondaymag.com or mail them with a SASE to Last Word, Monday Magazine, 818 Broughton, Victoria BC, V8W 1E4. Due to the volume of submissions received, we can only respond to those being considered for publication.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#14 aastra

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 01:56 PM

Um, Mark Murphy doesn't ride transit buses very often, I take it?

Like the morning a half-dozen young Italian tourists boarded to continue their obviously exciting holiday to Vancouver. I made out "English Bay" and "Stanley Park" before their conversation reached a volume and velocity that sounded like Farsi funeral wailing.


Does Italian really sound like Farsi funeral wailing? Or is "Italian tourists" supposed to be "Iranian tourists"?

Italians, Iranians. They all look and sound the same to your average reporter.

#15 Scaper

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 11:50 PM

^ one main reason I don't take the bus...

Also why don't buses have seat belts...this is something I never understood.

#16 Baro

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 12:12 AM

Wow, I take the bus almost every day and I've maybe once seen someone kicked off, and they were polite about it. Just some homeless guy who got in on the back and the driver politely told him all passangers had to come in the front, told him to come around in the front. So he just got off.

Maybe I'm just lucky, but I've never had any scary run-ins downtown, never been aggressively pan-handled or plain handled, never seen trouble on the bus. I'm downtown a LOT, day and eve.
"beats greezy have baked donut-dough"

#17 Scaper

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 12:17 AM

I think I saw you kicked off the bus last week!!! then I think I saw you punch out a window!!

#18 Jarrod

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 12:32 AM

^ one main reason I don't take the bus...

Also why don't buses have seat belts...this is something I never understood.


There are no seatbelts because then the seats infront would be even harder then they are now. It's to support the seatbelts. If there is an accident on the bus, the seatbelts would do more damage. The reason why the backs are softish (perhaps I"m just talking about school buses) is because if there is an accident the faces hit something soft. Where as the seat belts will chock the kid or smash their face in the hard seat in front...

#19 Baro

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 01:19 PM

The main protective measures on a bus are the expert driving skills of the operator and the sheer size of the bus, it's pretty rare that injuries occur on a bus compared to personal auto, even on a per-capita basis.

Drunk kids in sports cars vrs giant steel fortress commanded by an expert.

I feel much safer on a bus.
"beats greezy have baked donut-dough"

#20 Mike K.

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 01:41 PM

^Yeah, I suppose so :)



That's a real ad, btw.

Skyscraper Source Media Inc.

July 15, 2014: [Mayor] Fortin told C-FAX's Bruce Williams that he expects the [Johnson Street Bridge] project to be completed "on time and on budget."


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