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RDN Transit approved for another 6 buses for Nanaimo

Inter-regional service to Comox supported, more hours for Nanaimo Cowichan Express added
Six more CNG buses are expected to be added to Regional District of Nanaimo Transit’s fleet, following approval from B.C. Transit. (News Bulletin file)

Commuters will see bus service bolstered as RDN Transit is slated to add six more buses to its fleet next year.

B.C. Transit approved a number of the Regional District of Nanaimo’s requests, including support for another 10,000 annual service hours and six compressed natural gas buses. Projects are expected to be implemented over the next three years.

A service expansion report was accepted for information at a transit select committee meeting on Thursday, March 28. Darren Marshall, RDN transportation services’ senior manager, stated that the 2025 budget will add 8,900 transit service hours. This will include increased frequency for Route 50 Downtown-Woodgrove and restructuring and increased frequency on Route 11 Lantzville.

According to the RDN’s transit redevelopment strategy, minor adjustments will be made to Route 50 Downtown-Woodgrove, with service frequency to increase to 20 minutes between buses at peak times during weekdays. Route 11 Lantzville will see frequency increased to 60 minutes during peak weekday times and Saturday afternoons, and 120 minutes at other times, the strategy states.

For 2024, an extra 500 transit hours have been allotted to support inter-regional service between the RDN and the Comox Valley, as well as another 500 transit hours for the Route 70 Nanaimo-Cowichan Express on Friday and Saturday evenings.

B.C. Transit did not approve a request for weekend HandyDART service – 2,000 annual service hours and three vehicles – which didn’t sit well with committee members. HandyDART offers door-to-door service to those with mobility issues.

Seth Wright, B.C. Transit manager of senior government relations, was in attendance at the meeting and responded to directors.

“We do consider conventional expansion and custom expansion – or HandyDART – expansion in separate buckets and we do allocate a certain portion of expansion hours to HandyDART expansion,” he said. “Unfortunately the RDN wasn’t one of the successful systems to receive that HandyDART expansion this year … the best course of action is to apply for next year.”

B.C. Transit and RDN staff are expected to work together on plans to roll out expanded service in the coming months, the report said.

In an e-mail, Marshall told the News Bulletin the last expansion the transit system saw was in 2022, when it received support for and additional 2,500 transit hours to implement the Nanaimo-Cowichan Express.

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Karl Yu

About the Author: Karl Yu

After interning at Vancouver Metro free daily newspaper, I joined Black Press in 2010.
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