The Regional District of Nanaimo transit select committee is recommending that a bus exchange at Nanaimo’s waterfront remain there until next summer.
The bus loop was situated on Prideaux Street, but relocated to the Port Drive/Front Street area in May due to Bastion Street bridge seismic upgrades. While the bridge has re-opened, the RDN committee is recommending the board approve a licence of occupation and use amendment that would see the bus hub stay at its current locale until June 30.
According to Daniel Pearce, RDN transportation and emergency services manager, and Tyler Brown, RDN director and transit select committee chairman, the move has been well-received by the public. The relocation has been beneficial economically as well, both said.
“We know we’re saving operating dollars by being in the downtown, off of Front Street core,” said Pearce. “We’re not looping around downtown and it’s equating to a fair amount of money. Approximately we’re saving, right now up to date, about 2,000 hours, so we know operationally it’s a good thing and the public’s told us that they’re happy with it.”
Pearce said 2,000 transit hours roughly amounts to about $170,000.
Brown, also a City of Nanaimo councillor, said whether the transit exchange will be permanently situated off Front Street is dependent on the city’s downtown mobility study, which is being finalized. The report looks at how residents move in and out of downtown and it includes transit, Brown said.
“Obviously there’s a few planning documents,” said Brown. “A call for an on-street, there was talk of an off-street on 1 Port Drive transit exchange for some time and the mobility study should give us a little more clarity on what it’s going to look like moving forward. Obviously that will need to be endorsed by (city) council and any transit exchange location is an RDN decision as well.”
When asked about what happens after June 30, Brown pointed to the mobility study.
“We should have our … study finalized and from there, I imagine, we’ll be making moves to site the location permanently,” said Brown. “Where that exact location is? I haven’t seen the study yet, but I can venture to guess that it’s going to be closer to downtown and not on Prideaux.”
The recommendation will be debated by the board at its Oct. 22 meeting.
As part of the agreement, the site of the Prideaux exchange will continue to be used as a parking lot for Nanaimo RCMP.