(News Bulletin file)

Nanaimo’s 1 Port Drive could get a trial run as a temporary bus loop

Prideaux Street bus exchange expected to be relocated for six months this year

The Prideaux bus exchange could be temporarily relocated to 1 Port Drive.

The Regional District of Nanaimo’s transit select committee will vote today on a recommendation to enter into a licence of occupation and use with the City of Nanaimo and Seaspan Ferries Corporation for a temporary bus loop at the site from April 7-Sept. 30. According to an RDN staff report, the Bastion Street Bridge in downtown Nanaimo will receive seismic upgrades and vehicle traffic will not be allowed on the span during construction.

Daniel Pearce, RDN transportation and emergency services manager, said RDN Transit anticipates moving to Port Drive on April 14 and said there will be route adjustments for all Prideaux Street-destined routes, if approval is given. He said any route information would be made available in riders’ guides, online and via the RDN Transit app.

The rental of a trailer, to be used as a rest area for bus drivers, would be necessary, at the cost of $3,900 for the six months and Pearce said there will be four bus bays added.

Relocation could net approximately $80,000 in savings, and B.C. Transit, RDN Transit’s funding partner, will hold that in reserve. Pearce said it will be reallocated at a future date that has not yet been determined.

“It’s not a major savings, but those hours will be held until we decide on either a future planning exercise or the next expansion,” said Pearce.

Port Drive has been mentioned as a transit hub site in the past, but Tyler Brown, Nanaimo councillor, RDN director and transit select committee chairman, said there has been no determination about a permanent move.

“When the south downtown waterfront land visioning exercise was completed, the RDN Transit department was very much a part of that and articulated in that vision was some sort of downtown transit hub to the point where an MOU was signed, but now expired, between the RDN and the city to explore that further,” said Brown.

“Obviously the Prideaux exchange, I think it’s a year-to-year lease and it’s sort of at capacity. It’s not the ideal location, so we do know that at some point, we need to move it. I think the intention would be to try to find another home for it downtown, but that’s a discussion we do need to have as a board and probably as a city council as well.”

If the recommendation is approved, it will go before the RDN board at its March 26 meeting, said Brown.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

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