Survey says Nanaimo residents want more transit

NANAIMO – Regional transit manager says service has grown by 50 per cent.

While some residents aren’t enamoured with Regional District of Nanaimo transit based on results of a recent poll, officials say they are working to improve service.

As part of the regional district’s operation and efficiency review, market research company Ipsos conducted a survey of residents’ satisfaction. Thirty-six per cent of respondents expressed dissatisfaction with transit and 59 per cent said they would like expanded service.

Transit represented the service that is not only the least satisfactory but one residents would most like to see expanded, according to Ipsos.

Dennis Trudeau, regional district general manager of transportation, said some routes only run hourly and he can understand why transit users want more. He said the system has seen significant growth in his time with transit.

“It’s a system that has grown almost 50 per cent in hours in the last 10 years,” Trudeau said. “It’s gone from 80,000 hours up to close to 120,000 hours and over that time, the ridership has increased almost 50 per cent as well, going from just under two million to almost three million now.”

There is also service on all stat holidays except Good Friday and Christmas, additional runs between Parksville, Qualicum and Nanaimo and some of the Vancouver Island University runs go almost every 15 minutes, according to Trudeau.

The regional district board approved a 25-year transit plan in late March and as part of that, expanded service will be presented to directors during 2015 budget discussions.

According to Daniel Pearce, manager of transit operations, restructuring of the No. 4 (Vancouver Island University) and the establishment of a rapid transit bus line from downtown, up Island Highway to Woodgrove Centre would be part of that.

Ipsos interviewed 1,325 people between January and April.