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RDN transit committee supports HandyDART changes

NANAIMO – Transit committee wants the proposal amendeded to align with Regional Growth Strategy.

The Regional District of Nanaimo’s transit committee is advising the board to support B.C. Transit’s proposal to change HandyDART service.

But the committee wants that endorsement to include an amendment that service should be available to customers within 1.5 kilometres of rural village centres to align with the district’s Regional Growth Strategy.

B.C. Transit asked for feedback earlier this spring and proposed restricting service to a 1.5-kilometre buffer around existing transit routes, which would restrict the ability of new users outside that area to access service.

“All existing clients would be grandfathered in,” said Daniel Pearce, RDN manager of transit operations.

Under B.C. Transit’s proposal, about two per cent of existing customers fall outside the proposed 1.5-kilometre buffer. The village centre buffer proposal covers all existing customers.

Pearce said the majority of users affected by B.C. Transit’s proposal reside in electoral area A, which covers Cedar, Yellow Point, South Wellington and Cassidy. The village centres identified in area A are Cedar and Cassidy.

Diane Brennan, chairwoman of the RDN transit select committee, said it's the RDN board's decision whether to follow the committee’s recommendation.

“My mind is not closed on this. I’m expecting area directors to have lots to say about how it affects people,” she said, adding the electoral areas are the most affected.

The RDN board is expected to discuss the proposal during the Aug. 28 meeting.