A Regional District of Nanaimo Transit bus prepares to make a stop. (News Bulletin file)

A Regional District of Nanaimo Transit bus prepares to make a stop. (News Bulletin file)

RDN Transit hopes recovery funding will help balance books as ridership slowly returns

This past September’s ridership was about 56 per cent what it was last September

While restrictions from COVID-19 curbed Regional District of Nanaimo Transit bus ridership, relaxation of restrictions have led to slow increase over recent months, an RDN staff report says.

Buses in the region saw 250,000 boardings for the month of January, according to an RDN transit select committee report, but in the months after the pandemic was declared, that number dropped and there were a little more than 50,000 bus rides in April. The B.C. government eased restrictions in May with Phase 2 of its COVID-19 recovery plan and ridership has gradually increased, said the report, with a little more than 140,500 people boarding buses during September.

This past summer, RDN Transit projected a $2.1 million loss for the year and according to the report, the decreased number of riders could account for “approximately 37 per cent of the projected conventional transit revenue loss, compared to budgeted revenue for 2020.” However, with the federal and provincial governments set to dole out $86 million in Safe Restart Funds to B.C. Transit systems, losses could be balanced out, the report said.

Erica Beauchamp, RDN superintendent of transit planning and scheduling, said it hasn’t yet been decided how that money will be distributed.

“We haven’t been informed of even how much we will be getting, but it’s anticipated that after the election blackout period has ended, and the election results are finalized, that we’ll start hearing about how those funds will be distributed,” said Beauchamp.

“Overall, because of some of the decisions we made early on, we’re in an OK shape financially even with the loss of fares, but with that said, the bailout money will really help make sure that we’re maintaining our operations and we have that cushion if we need it,” said Tyler Brown, RDN Nanaimo director and transit select committee chairperson.

RELATED: RDN Transit estimates $2M loss due to COVID-19

RELATED: Masks now required on RDN Transit buses

Brown said he’s optimistic that ridership numbers will bounce back.

“I think people had a lot of worries and our transit team really responded well,” said Brown. “From management to the drivers, to everybody working on the buses to put in protections in place; we had such a robust cleaning process. I’m confident that those measures are giving people confidence in the system and hopefully … we’ll see ridership return to levels we’re more used to.”

September traditionally sees a ridership spike, with an influx of students headed back to Nanaimo-Ladysmith district high schools and Vancouver Island University, said the report. However, September’s ridership was at 56 per cent when compared to September 2019.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Nanaimo Regional DistrictTransit

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Regional District of Nanaimo has its sights set on busing to the Cowichan Valley in time for March 2022. (News Bulletin file)
RDN Transit has sights set on busing to Cowichan Valley by next March

Unallocated transit hours already in the budget

Parking decals for motorcycles owned by riders with disabilities are now available from the Nanaimo Disability Resource Centre. (Photo submitted)
Motorcycle decals now available in Nanaimo for disabled riders

Limited number of decals now available from the Nanaimo Disability Resource Centre

Ceramic artist Teresa Dorey with some of the pieces from her upcoming exhibition, ‘Einfühlung: Feeling Into,’ at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts Studio and Gallery. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Ceramic artist explores ideas around empathy and touch in Nanaimo exhibition

Montreal’s Teresa Dorey presents ‘Einfühlung: Feeling Into’ at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts

Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun is the recipient of this year’s City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award for Emerging Cultural Leader. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun is the recipient of this year’s City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award for Emerging Cultural Leader. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Multi-disciplinary Snuneymuxw artist named ‘Emerging Cultural Leader’

Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun, receives City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award

The Village on Third in Nanaimo won the Judges’ Choice award as top overall entry at the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo mixed-use building wins top prize at commercial building awards

Village on Third was Judges’ Choice winner at VIREB Commercial Building Awards

The Village on Third in Nanaimo won the Judges’ Choice award as top overall entry at the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo mixed-use building wins top prize at commercial building awards

Village on Third was Judges’ Choice winner at VIREB Commercial Building Awards

BCIT. (Wikimedia Commons)
BCIT apologizes after employee’s ‘offensive and hurtful’ email leaked to Métis Nation

BCIT says employee’s conduct has been investigated and addressed

An adult male yellow-breasted chat is shown in this undatd photograph on lands protected in collaboration between the En’owkin Centre and Penticton Indian Band with support through ECCC. The rescue from near extinction for a little yellow bird hinges on the wild rose in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, a researcher says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, A. Michael Bezener/ En’owkin Centre 2020 *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Rare yellow birds need wild roses to survive in British Columbia: researcher

The importance of local wild roses emerged over a nearly 20-year experiment

RCMP officers search around rows of luggage carts as screens block off an area of the sidewalk after a shooting outside the international departures terminal at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Police say gang conflict in Metro Vancouver may be behind shooting death at airport

Police said this generation of gangsters is taking things to new level and have no regard for community safety

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Nanaimo author Haley Healey recently launched her second book, ‘Flourishing and Free: More Stories of Trailblazing Women of Vancouver Island.’ (Photo courtesy Kristin Wenberg)
Nanaimo author pens second book on ‘trailblazing’ Vancouver Island women

Haley Healey’s ‘Flourishing and Free’ follows her 2020 debut ‘On Their Own Terms’

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read