(News Bulletin file)

RDN board approval final hurdle for busing to Nanaimo Airport

New Cedar to VIU bus route also part of 5,900-hour transit expansion

Busing to Nanaimo Airport and from Cedar to Vancouver Island University are among the options Regional District of Nanaimo staff is recommending for a 2020 transit expansion.

RDN’s transit select committee is recommending approval of 5,900-hour conventional and 1,700-hour custom transit expansions set for January, and both will go before the regional district board at its July 23 meeting, with six options for allocating the hours listed in a staff report. It would result in two new bus routes.

Creation of Route 78 would provide busing for the Cassidy and Nanaimo Airport area. It would run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., every two hours. The route would run along the highway, beginning in downtown Nanaimo, to South Parkway Plaza, to Cassidy and the airport, with a stop at South Wellington, said the report.

Daniel Pearce, RDN transportation and emergency services manager, told the News Bulletin Cassidy residents were quite vocal about not having public transit service and providing service to Cassidy also affords riders service to YCD.

“We’re able to service the airport at a very [basic] rate,” said Pearce. “By no means is it going to be strong service to the airport, but it will get people that, if they want to choose to take transit, it will create an available option, which is a starting point.”

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Busing to the Cedar area would change, with the current route (7 Cinnabar/Cedar) split in two.

Creation of Route 8, Cedar to VIU, would see busing along the Tenth Street corridor, an area not previously serviced, the report said. Buses would run through Yellow Point, Woobank, Holden Corso Road, Cedar Road, through to South Parkway Plaza, up Tenth, Bruce Avenue, then Fifth Street, Wakesiah Avenue and up to the university.

The Cinnabar-Downtown modified Route 7 would be adjusted to run through Extension Road to Tenth Street, to Haliburton Street and then Front Street.

Pearce said the changes to Cedar routes create more of a “strong, straight linkage, rather than having to tie Cinnabar and Cedar together,” which was something the RDN heard during public consultation.

Buses on Route 11 Lantzville would see the bus line stretched out to include a section encompassing Southwind, Westwind and Northwind drives, according to the report.

Adjustments to Route 30 Nanaimo Regional General Hospital are also recommended. Sections that include Norwell Drive and a Labieux-Dorman-Northfield area would be eliminated, according to the report. Pearce said the route is currently long with a lot of turns and changes would make it more efficient and less confusing for riders.

Expansion also includes an addition of 510 hours for busing on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Day and Good Friday.

The 5,900-hour expansion would cost the RDN $470,450 and $67,900 for the 1,700-hour expansion, which Pearce said will go towards HandyDART service.

RDN Transit will pay 53 per cent of the conventional expansion and 33 per cent of custom with B.C. Transit covering the rest.



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