Workers install shelters at the temporary bus loop at 1 Port Drive on Friday. While it was anticipated the exchange would remain at the location until the end of September, it will now remain until the end of December. (NICHOLAS PESCOD/News Bulletin)

Bus loop will now remain in downtown Nanaimo until the end of the year

Shelters installed at temporary Port Drive/Front Street transit exchange

A temporary bus loop in downtown Nanaimo will remain across the street from Port Place mall until the end of the year, says the Regional District of Nanaimo.

The transit exchange was relocated from Prideaux Street to the Port Drive and Front Street area due to seismic upgrade work to the Bastion Street bridge and while the move was expected to last until the end of September, Darren Marshall, RDN transit operations manager, said it will now remain until the end of the year. In the event bridge work takes longer than expected, it gives workers the opportunity to make all the repairs and not worry about disrupting transit, he said.

“Again, it is still temporary,” said Marshall. “It was early discussions, before the project started, that if it ran over the expected date of completion of the Bastion bridge that trying to go back to Port Place a month into the fall schedule would cause more disruption for our system, so this way we’re able to plan for the full fall schedule and create riders’ guides and not disrupt the system for the students going back to school and workers.”

RELATED: Bastion Street bridge closed for construction

RELATED: Nanaimo’s 1 Port Drive getting trial as temporary bus loop

Both Marshall and Tyler Brown, RDN director and transit select committee chairman, said there has been a lot of positive feedback about the exchange’s temporary address, but there are no current plans to make the move permanent.

“That’ll be an ongoing conversation, but I think ideally, we would have it in the general vicinity for sure,” said Brown.

Brown said such a move would be beneficial.

“We do know if we move it … closer to Commercial Street and 1 Port Drive, we see efficiencies gained in terms of for the overall system, so it makes sense not just for the connectivity with the downtown there, but also improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the system,” Brown said.

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