Holy smokes, he/she joins and bears gifts with the first post! Welcome to VV, UserofVic.
Here's something to consider, though. Wouldn't it make more sense to buy 255 $1 million Double Deckers that have the capacity to haul 20,000 commuters, rather than spend up to $600 million for a capacity of 1,000 people over seven rail cars?
It might, except 255 buses requires 255 drivers and is likely far beyond what buses can scale to. The thing with the $600 million is that most of it is fixed infrastructure costs. The rolling stock is comparable per passenger to buses, meaning the big question I have is the ability to double track allowing for all day 2 way service to at least Westhills, and the possibility of extra trips to Duncan and beyond even along a single track midday. If double tracking is cheap and space for train storage can be found, it's a lot easier to add some more coaches to reach a 20,000 person capacity than it is with buses. The studied scenarios are very bare bones. There's also the question of how do buses and commuter rail compare to an LRT system? BC Transit's 2011 study found LRT would end up with a low operating cost of $1.70ish/passenger by 2038. It has a hefty upfront price tag, but BRT can be built to the same standards of speed and priority if we allow it to. BRT can also be upgraded to LRT if designed correctly. As long as we don't pull an Ottawa and botch the launch of LRT.
with the bus lanes and the mckenzie interchange the bus will do the trip faster (and much more frequently - reducing dwell times and passenger waits at stations) than trains can.
The trains are stated to travel 28 minutes between Westhills and downtown. The 50 is about 30 minutes between downtown and Langford, 35-40 terminus to terminus. The real improvements won't come without reducing the number of stops and implementing fare prepayment. Stuff that the 2008 douglas BRT proposal would have allowed for. Shame the region was too short sighted to build functional cost effective rapid transit infrastructure. It's likely had that been build there'd be priority lanes down the highway by now and we'd have saved many hours of highway 1 congestion. The curbside lanes are better than nothing, but still have to contend with cars turning through them and make level boarding (no wheelchair ramps needed) and fare prepayment difficult. They're a far cry from real rapid transit. There's a thing called the Downs-Thompson Paradox, which this video gives a bit of an overview of. Basically car traffic gets worse until transit/biking/walking becomes as fast.
I think rail is feasible, but ultimately improvements to the highway 1/Douglas corridor would likely be more beneficial for Langford commuters. Now for Duncan and Shawnigan Lake commuters though rail probably becomes a better idea, though in the short term just running the Cowichan Valley Commuter buses more would be pretty great. Add midday 2 way service and day trips to Duncan become possible on transit too. The current schedule of them has the last Victoria bound bus leave well before many of the connecting routes start service. It'd be a quick fix to capture some of the non-commuter market. Did you know it's possible to bus from Victoria to Lake Cowichan 6 days a week? Problem is coming back as the Saturday schedule is the only one with midday Duncan/Victoria trips, allowing the transfer back. How many people would specifically go between Lake Cowichan and Victoria by bus is debatable, but Duncan/Victoria has untapped potential especially as Victoria's growth is making it more and more of an outlying part of the region than a separate entity.
One thing I missed from the report, the location of Vic West's station:
It's not in downtown, but they did ridership calculations based on it being close to the bridge. I always assumed it'd be a lot further.
Edited by UserofVic, 29 April 2020 - 05:49 PM.