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I've noticed that the 17 (school special) is still running daily. Is this simply because is't the only bus to serve the Douglas/Lily area for morning commuters or something? I'm surprised to see a bus that exists solely for UVIC and schools along McKenzie still operating. NextRide still has the route (unlike the 76 and 16), and the public schedule on the website claims it will still run once daily in the UVIC direction only. What's up with this?

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I really don't like BC Transit's general map design. The style works fine, but there is so much more that could be included without making things unusable. I've thrown together an experimental map for the 27/28 route (as it demonstrates the benefits on overlapping routes). This map takes BC Transit's existing system and adds the following information at little expense:

  • Stops are now indicated at approximate locations. This allows the user to see if there is a stop in the rough area that they need to get to. The stops are also colour coded as is standard worldwide for transit systems (line-only stops are in the line's colour, shared stops have a black outline).
  • Directionality of stops is also indicated, which eliminates the need for the hideous arrows, and also allows for situations to be marked where buses may pass through in both directions, but only stop in one direction.
  • Transfer Opportunities are shown at the point where they cross or leave the parallel of the route that the map focuses on. This allows for people to see what services the route on the map easily transfers to, and also which services aren't really transferable. For instance, on this map, the lack of a stop at Bay Street shows clearly that there is no convenient transfer between the 27/28 and the 10. No secondary transfers or nearby transfers (such as the 14 on Richmond) are shown. I am considering adding in greyed out stops for the transfers, but I don't want to clutter anything any more. I've also included the service class (local/frequent/regional express) in the number bubbles, which allows a user to see whether they can simple catch the bus in that direction without needing to plan when they make that particular transfer. On this map, a user would know that transferring to the 51 wouldn't be a simple matter.

Known issues:

  • Clutter is obviously just barely starting to be a problem. One of my pet peeves with BC Transit's maps is that their street names are currently black for all roads, and not just for the roads used by the bus route itself. Also, on the official BC Transit 27/28 maps, Foul Bay Road and Henderson are marked despite this offering nothing of value to the user. To alleviate clutter from the added information, I have greyed out street names on streets that the bus does not follow. I have also removed street names that don't even intersect with the bus route or carry the transferable routes. Nevertheless, there is a bit of clutter left.
  • Transfers aren't indicable in the downtown area because, again, that would be too cluttered. 
  • Layover Points should somehow be indicated as on loop routes like the 27/28 buses stop at El Sereno in both directions to await their next departure, meaning that riders should know they shouldn't board a bus just because it's already there. This is the least of the flaws, in my opnion. The average user doesn't care and probably wouldn't understand. Terminus points are easily marked as at the southern end of the route, where I have broken the loop that stupidly exists on all BC Transit maps and put directional stops at the terminus/origin of the route.
  • Stops seem excessive and could theoretically be removed. However, as I pointed out in the previous commentary on why they are a good addition even for the common user, the reader of the map would have no way of knowing that no transfer between the 27/28 is at all convenient without a significant walk (in terms of transfers, at least).

Any ideas are welcome! I've been wanting to improve the design of the individual route maps for a while, and I was finally inspired. The map was created in Inkscape, using the PDF provided by BC Transit after painstakingly disassembling it and replacing literally every word because they use the copyrighted Helvetica, which I definitely don't want to spend money on.

27-28 V1.png

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20 hours ago, CV92 said:

6002-6004 departed yesterday for Kelowna, and with that all the loaner Novas have returned to whence they came. 9463-9466 left last week, and 9302-9304 the week before. 

And I notice a TON of Arbocs are back on the road... sigh... I was hoping COVID-19 was going to be the wake-up call to retire those. Now anyone who lives on a route with an Arboc serving it are in a bus limited to only 6 people. Plus I notice ridership is starting to pick up, I'm no longer the only one on the Rt 57 heading to work in the mornings. 

20 hours ago, InfiNorth said:

I've noticed that the 17 (school special) is still running daily. Is this simply because is't the only bus to serve the Douglas/Lily area for morning commuters or something? I'm surprised to see a bus that exists solely for UVIC and schools along McKenzie still operating. NextRide still has the route (unlike the 76 and 16), and the public schedule on the website claims it will still run once daily in the UVIC direction only. What's up with this?

I think it depends on how the work is split up, and whether the work is designated to the board or if it is signed work. I would think the Rt 17 is a split shift, where a driver does that for the AM period and then does something different in the PM rush. From what I have been told, VTC work is mostly splits or seat-swaps on the road. 
The Route 53, 55, 59, as well as the 63/64 aren't actually listed online HOWEVER are showing up on NextRide (for the most part) 

 

Regarding your map design, it looks good, however I don't think people need to know exactly where every stop is. I frankly don't even think the average customer cares. Now what they DO care about is having the individual route maps in the guide! When they got rid of each individual route map starting around 2012, people starting voicing their opinions on Facebook! I had no idea that there was still a 27/28 express (I live in Langford, never go into town). From what I remember, a number of years ago (2014 maybe?) BC Transit got rid of all their express routes because it caused conflicts with Cruise Victoria or Wilson's. It's a shame there aren't really any express routes anymore, I'm sure some people in the afternoon would rather go straight to Langford Exchange or Helmcken without having to wait for the bus to stop 50 times along the way. 

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3 hours ago, Matt Dunlop said:

From what I remember, a number of years ago (2014 maybe?) BC Transit got rid of all their express routes because it caused conflicts with Cruise Victoria or Wilson's. It's a shame there aren't really any express routes anymore, I'm sure some people in the afternoon would rather go straight to Langford Exchange or Helmcken without having to wait for the bus to stop 50 times along the way. 

I find that really interesting, since there are still quite a few expresses over on this side of town. The 15 is express from Downtown to UVIC, the 16 is express from UVIC to Uptown, the 51 is Express between UVIC and Highway 17, the 76 UVIC-Ferry Express (only a few times weekly when in session). I moved here in 2015, and I seem to very clearly recall seeing express buses to Sooke at that time (no such service exists at this point). From what I can tell, the 65 Sooke (which provides the laughably horrible twice daily service to the new housing developments in Westhills) replaced the 61X Sooke.

Looking at my schedule from 2008 (it's the only paper schedule I have from before I moved here), I have found the following routes with express configuration including an X in their names: 27X, 28X, 32X, 57X, 61X. The 70 wasn't called the 70X at that point, interestingly. 

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31 minutes ago, InfiNorth said:

I find that really interesting, since there are still quite a few expresses over on this side of town. The 15 is express from Downtown to UVIC, the 16 is express from UVIC to Uptown, the 51 is Express between UVIC and Highway 17, the 76 UVIC-Ferry Express (only a few times weekly when in session). I moved here in 2015, and I seem to very clearly recall seeing express buses to Sooke at that time (no such service exists at this point). From what I can tell, the 65 Sooke (which provides the laughably horrible twice daily service to the new housing developments in Westhills) replaced the 61X Sooke.

Looking at my schedule from 2008 (it's the only paper schedule I have from before I moved here), I have found the following routes with express configuration including an X in their names: 27X, 28X, 32X, 57X, 61X. The 70 wasn't called the 70X at that point, interestingly. 

The 16 is a true express route (very limited stops), and well as the 76. The 15 is half express, half regular, however in the Esquimalt transit action plan survey they were asking if people would like the 15 to be express all the way to Dockyard. Route 51 isn't really express as it doesn't skip any stops, not that I'm aware of at least. There used to be a 50X and 61X, the 61X was changed to 65 with different routing (via Westhills). 32x was dropped I think. 57x was changed to 47 and the starting point was changed to Westhills Ex. 

If you follow this link, there used to be a 50X, which from what I was told was very well utilized (18 years ago!). Also if you note the address bar of the page, it says "950" which is probably what the 50 used to be (Route 30 used to be 930, Route 31 used to be 931). https://web.archive.org/web/20021224203315/http://www.bctransit.com/regions/vic/schedules/schedule.cfm?line=950&

As a matter of fact, if you browse that "Wayback Machine" website, you'll be surprised how much has changed with transit over the years, for better or worse... 

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5 hours ago, Matt Dunlop said:

The 16 is a true express route (very limited stops), and well as the 76. The 15 is half express, half regular, however in the Esquimalt transit action plan survey they were asking if people would like the 15 to be express all the way to Dockyard. Route 51 isn't really express as it doesn't skip any stops, not that I'm aware of at least. There used to be a 50X and 61X, the 61X was changed to 65 with different routing (via Westhills). 32x was dropped I think. 57x was changed to 47 and the starting point was changed to Westhills Ex. 

If you follow this link, there used to be a 50X, which from what I was told was very well utilized (18 years ago!). Also if you note the address bar of the page, it says "950" which is probably what the 50 used to be (Route 30 used to be 930, Route 31 used to be 931). https://web.archive.org/web/20021224203315/http://www.bctransit.com/regions/vic/schedules/schedule.cfm?line=950&

As a matter of fact, if you browse that "Wayback Machine" website, you'll be surprised how much has changed with transit over the years, for better or worse... 

WayBack is like wading through molasses to find transit history, because of how often URLs have changed and how few pages have been archived for BC Transit. Still a wealth of info. As for the 9xx numbers, the 27x/28x were originally called the 927 and 928 back in 1975 when they were created. It amazes me that BC Transit kept using the same nomenclature for over 30 years... well, for that matter, the 24 and 25 have followed the same route for over fifty years at this point. Someone needs to sift through WayBack's spotty collection of BC Transit pages and catalog them based on year and route so we can see what's available and what's not. I really don't need another project right now. 

EDIT: Maybe I do need a new project. I'll be keeping it updated as best I can at https://sites.google.com/view/bctransitschedules

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On 4/23/2020 at 1:04 PM, Matt Dunlop said:

Route 51 isn't really express as it doesn't skip any stops, not that I'm aware of at least

It's a McKenzie express, skipping the same stops as the 16. Also in fairness the stops along Island Highway/Sooke rd up to Kelly are for the most part spaced closer to express stopping patterns than a local one. There's a few that are closer, but not nearly as close as what the coverage loops have. Plus the highway segment is closer to an express/semi rapid transit than local service, a quality all the highway buses share during those legs of their trips. The 50 between Uptown and the Colwood exchange is probably the closest thing to rapid or semi-rapid transit the region has with both higher speeds and high (enough) frequency. Then it feels like hitting a wall on Douglas and Goldstream with many more stops. 


As for the 57x, it became the 47 in January 2015 as cited in the 2015 Westshore Local Area Transit Plan. The only difference was the number, done to differentiate with local service. The 48 was started at the same time extending commuter trips of the 52 to Latoria and Happy Valley (This route sign makes sense to me now). Later when the Westhills exchange opened (Sept 2017?) is when the 47 began using it as a terminus. I think that happened in tandem with the 39 terminus being moved to Westhills, and the 46 starting service.

On 4/22/2020 at 5:04 PM, InfiNorth said:

THE COOL MAP

I think it's more just the close stop spacing, but it was confusing at first trying to get why arrows were where they were, and dots otherwise. Made sense after looking at Google Maps and seeing that it's intersection stop pairs and there's more random single side stops than I thought. Also for the transfer route colourization, this is a problem I have with all BC Transit maps, but there's no clear difference between limited service routes such as the 51 and especially 17, and almost frequent routes running 7 days a week like the 7 or 11. I do like showing the transfers, it's a good idea! Also sidenote but it's a little weird that different parts of Gordon Head get express service in the morning and afternoon.

Also speaking of maps, has anyone else ever noticed there's errors in the system overview maps? For the Westshore one, that's displayed at both the Langford and Colwood exchanges, they call Veteran's Fulton and forget that the 48 runs up it (though tbf there's no stops on that portion). Fulton never intersects with Latoria, and Veteran's only changes name once to Millstream north of the highway, not again to the South of Sooke rd :P
They also choose to showcase the school routing for the 52 and 59/60 which is pretty misleading for almost all cases. Unless they permanently move the 52 to the Royal Bay routing, again the Westshore local area plan mentions that. Though it shows a full Veteran's routing for both the permanent move and the school trips, but the school trips take Wishart instead so it's likely the permanent routing choice. But still unless it was planned for January 2021 with those Westshore hours it's still far off in the future so did they just mess up? There's also a weird bit of grey implying a bus route along Gordon Head rd to McKenzie though that's less problematic.

The Westshore Local Area Plan also mentions a new Happy Valley route servicing Jenkins, Happy Valley, and Latoria aka a shortened 54. It's what I was thinking @Matt Dunlop when I mentioned that the 54 needs something up to Royal Bay, because yeah the rural areas further out are less busy. The problem with the 54 is that it's a rural route servicing relatively dense suburban areas, so alone it's overcrowded and frankly horrible service levels for an area as built up as Happy Valley is, even if the same service is fine for Metchosin. Though even just running literally anything but a community bus is enough to patch the overcrowding short term.

 

On another note, I wonder with COVID and everything when the I wonder when the South Island Transportation Plan will be released. A year ago the province said Urban System was selected and they'd have a year to make it. I guess there's probably some approval stage without the added inconvenience of a global pandemic, but I wanna see it! I'm especially interested in what it has to say on rail, though I'm not holding high hopes. Bus based transit probably won't be radically different than what's seen in BC Transit's plans (50 routing with less stops = future BRT or LRT, Admirals/Mckenzie route, etc), though I also wonder if there's actual merit to a commuter ferry between downtown and Royal Bay. It always seemed like improvements to the highway 1 corridor would do better cost-benefit wise since there's still problems getting people to Royal Bay especially without decent local routes, and trips to the Peninsula or UVic are hampered. But at the same time population growth might make it worth it. Also curious for cycling improvements, but I expect those to be "build more bike lanes, finish the E&N rail trail, make a proper fully protected bike path/trail to UVic"

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On 4/22/2020 at 11:53 AM, InfiNorth said:

I've noticed that the 17 (school special) is still running daily. Is this simply because is't the only bus to serve the Douglas/Lily area for morning commuters or something? I'm surprised to see a bus that exists solely for UVIC and schools along McKenzie still operating. NextRide still has the route (unlike the 76 and 16), and the public schedule on the website claims it will still run once daily in the UVIC direction only. What's up with this?

The morning 17 trip is a single half leg of the route which is part of a larger paddle--- after arriving at UVic it continues onto other routes.  it will disappear on the next sign up, but, cancelling it would have meant having the bus just layover somewhere.... but where??

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12 hours ago, Les Broughton said:

The morning 17 trip is a single half leg of the route which is part of a larger paddle--- after arriving at UVic it continues onto other routes.  it will disappear on the next sign up, but, cancelling it would have meant having the bus just layover somewhere.... but where??

Makes sense, thanks for putting it that way. Since the 12/24 is still running (and I assume that is the source of the bus for the 17) why isn't the afternoon run operating?

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5 hours ago, Matt Dunlop said:

I got the VIN number of one of the XN40s (1170), were these built in US or Canada? The manufacturer says New Flyer Industries Canada, however the emission control information says New Flyer of America? 

1170 vin.jpg

95073481_10163464937950147_850349373660332032_o.jpg

It's a trick question really. The Winnipeg plant no longer completes buses; all the frames are shipped south of the border for completion.

In this case, the first digits of "2FY" and the plant code of "C" indicates a Canadian-built model, so the frame was indeed built at Winnipeg.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Alright, for those who are interested in an alternative to nextride, check this out

http://bctracker.bumblesquash.com/

(bumblesquash is my usual internet username, I might move the site later if people like it)

Its ugly, but it seems to work. It lets you browse victoria's blocks too, which might be a first. Still a major WIP, and there is a good chance some stuff might break from time to time.

I hope to improve the history features eventually, but it has begun tracking the last assignments of each vehicle which means you can watch it for retirements and stuff... If I made it earlier, it would have caught a lot more of the flyers dying.

(For bug reports and if it breaks and I didn't notice, dm me here)

Good luck! 

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On 5/9/2020 at 2:14 PM, jmward said:

Alright, for those who are interested in an alternative to nextride, check this out

http://bctracker.bumblesquash.com/

(bumblesquash is my usual internet username, I might move the site later if people like it)

Its ugly, but it seems to work. It lets you browse victoria's blocks too, which might be a first. Still a major WIP, and there is a good chance some stuff might break from time to time.

I hope to improve the history features eventually, but it has begun tracking the last assignments of each vehicle which means you can watch it for retirements and stuff... If I made it earlier, it would have caught a lot more of the flyers dying.

(For bug reports and if it breaks and I didn't notice, dm me here)

Good luck! 

Looks pretty good and accurate so far! 

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2690 has arrived at VTC. These new shuttles are Chevy-based Girardin G5s.

51 minutes ago, InfiNorth said:

Rolled off the ferry with shuttle 2692 hot on my tail. Looks brand new, or at least was pretty shiny and had a new white destination board. 

Should be new because I haven't seen any other G5s in the BCT fleet until now. They've always been a TransLink exclusive in the past.

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36 minutes ago, Community Shuttle said:

2690 has arrived at VTC. These new shuttles are Chevy-based Girardin G5s.

Should be new because I haven't seen any other G5s in the BCT fleet until now. They've always been a TransLink exclusive in the past.

Was hoping for Vicinity buses not shuttles. Hopefully that's going to HandyDart. 

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1 hour ago, Matt Dunlop said:

Was hoping for Vicinity buses not shuttles. Hopefully that's going to HandyDart. 

Considering it had a fully programmable display, seems unlikely... although they have put the Sprinters in other communities with fully programmable destination boards that permanently say "handyDART" on them. Such a waste of resources (and money) if it really is going to HandyDart.

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12 hours ago, InfiNorth said:

Considering it had a fully programmable display, seems unlikely... although they have put the Sprinters in other communities with fully programmable destination boards that permanently say "handyDART" on them. Such a waste of resources (and money) if it really is going to HandyDart.

Ok, confirmed, it's going to HandyDART. Phone number on the side confirms it. Not sure why it would have a new white sign. 

It just so happens that an operator sent me this picture from LTC. 2690. 

 

611063081.jpg

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I was loitering outside HandyDart's yard about two minutes ago and it arrived for training. Display does look good albeit needless, today was "TRAINING BUS / NO PASSENGERS". 

 

It looks really old. Time to update the styling on these things. 

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44 minutes ago, Dane said:

I was loitering outside HandyDart's yard about two minutes ago and it arrived for training. Display does look good albeit needless, today was "TRAINING BUS / NO PASSENGERS". 

 

It looks really old. Time to update the styling on these things. 

15 year old body design on a 25 year old cab/chassis design with styling that's almost 20 years old. At least it isn't an Aerotech on a Ford chassis. The Aero's design last saw significant changes in the early 90s while the Econoline chassis dates back to the 70s with an early 90s cab and late 2000s styling.

I don't think GM will kill the Express anytime soon. Ford said they were going to kill the Econoline by 2019 when the Transit was launched here but you can still buy a new 2021 model today.

7 hours ago, Matt Dunlop said:

Ok, confirmed, it's going to HandyDART. Phone number on the side confirms it. Not sure why it would have a new white sign. 

It just so happens that an operator sent me this picture from LTC. 2690. 

 

611063081.jpg

My guess as to why it has electronic signs despite initially going to Handydart is because it will eventually end up doing fixed-route service

Also, does anyone know how many of these are coming?

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