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Victoria Regional Transit System


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31 minutes ago, SomeIslandKid said:

Similar to the wild 15, I saw a bus saying "EXTRA BUS" coupled with a "NOT IN SERVICE" today lol. Also a drop off only double decker front door wide open making a turn from Douglas northbound onto Finlayson headed east for some whatever reason. Looked like a maintenance worker driving it, maybe he needed to get back to the depot without making any left hand turns lol.

The Rapidbus thing isn't new, it's been planned for a while. Even the current "rapidbus" term vs general rapid transit had a timeline shown somewhere that I can't find now. That announcement fits in with the timeline from what I remember of it. If you look through Commission meeting documents from before ye old pandemic there's mentions of it too. Langford's OCP plan also makes mention of a future BRT system down Goldstream, though the planning for that can probably be traced back to like 2008 when the Douglas busway plans got scrapped because oh no some left turns won't exist and without cars businesses (somehow) go broke, the horror oh no! I'm salty it took over a decade to get curbside lanes in to Uptown in both directions when the original Douglas BRT proposal would've been done in 2010 (or like 2014 because it's the CRD lamo) and been higher quality :<

Still 9 minute frequencies would be awesome and I want to see it happen quite rapidly ūüėú

I'm honestly already surprised we don't have a system along the two main corridors similar to how the 99B was set up in Vancouver originally. It as one route, but with different stretches receiving different amounts of service. For instance, Lougheed Mall only received two buses an hour, while Broadway Station saw at least four and hour heading towards UBC... some of which terminated at Arbutus. The 70/71/72 already do that to some extent, but not really. It would be nice to see the main corridors put together a little more seamlessly.

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Personally I don't care about increased frequency on the main routes. Make frequency at least every 40 minutes on the neighbourhood routes. At least the 52 Bear Mountain is every 30 minutes, but the Triangle Mountain, Thetis Heights are every hour. Metchosin is every 2 hours since the 55 was cut down, and East Sooke is every 2 hours as well. Same goes for the Atkins loop. 

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On 7/3/2020 at 3:59 PM, Matt Dunlop said:

Personally I don't care about increased frequency on the main routes. 

Personally. The main routes serve the majority of the population, and while I entirely agree, it makes a lot less sense to send more and more buses into wealthy areas where nearly everyone can and does own a car Personally I believe it needs to half and hour as that's about the maximum personally that I will be willing to sit and wait for a bus. I think the first goalpost is to have the core of the system efficient, effective, and convenient. Routes like the 50 still have a ton of usability problems that would only be exacerbated by increasing feeder service.

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So i only just realized why these interurban Novas are parked at Ogden Point - they're from the Cowichan Valley system for their daily layover. Duh. Okay, but what do their drivers do? Are the drivers also employed by BC Transit as well as First and have an agreement that allows them to be carefully scheduled or is there some other workaround? I know this would be better suited for the Cowichan Valley thread but it's about Victoria.

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2 hours ago, InfiNorth said:

So i only just realized why these interurban Novas are parked at Ogden Point - they're from the Cowichan Valley system for their daily layover. Duh. Okay, but what do their drivers do? Are the drivers also employed by BC Transit as well as First and have an agreement that allows them to be carefully scheduled or is there some other workaround? I know this would be better suited for the Cowichan Valley thread but it's about Victoria.

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Those buses are driven (in service) from Cowichan Valley to Victoria in the morning. After the last bus comes in (8:15am), the drivers get shuttled back to Cowichan Valley. Then later in the afternoon, the drivers are shuttled back to Victoria to drive those buses back in service. 

The service started around 2008, and it's absolutely pointless how they don't drive those buses back to Duncan, in service, in the morning. Surely there would be some people who would need a lift up the highway. 

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28 minutes ago, Matt Dunlop said:

Those buses are driven (in service) from Cowichan Valley to Victoria in the morning. After the last bus comes in (8:15am), the drivers get shuttled back to Cowichan Valley. Then later in the afternoon, the drivers are shuttled back to Victoria to drive those buses back in service. 

The service started around 2008, and it's absolutely pointless how they don't drive those buses back to Duncan, in service, in the morning. Surely there would be some people who would need a lift up the highway. 

Agree, or maybe even just have one bus do the return trip - six buses go down, five stay while the other one is a single reverse-direction mid-morning trip that almost no one would ride. On a very different note, I've always wondered by buses ferrying between loops aren't labeled as expresses... in a modern world where the exact routing of every vehicle in the system for every minute of the day can be planned months in advance, in my eyes it makes no sense to have NIS buses driving around everywhere. Even if they are headed to the depot - put it on an extra 16 run if it's out of service after UVIC or a new special (let's call it the 19, I dunno) that only runs from downtown to Uptown and that's it, or something. 

For morning clumps of buses leaving the depot, why not just mark them as the number of the route they follow - VTC headed downtown? Call it a 50, 30, or 70 Downtown. VTC headed for UVIC? 16, 26, whatever. Luckily LTC is really close to the nearest exchange, but I still see convoys of NIS buses headed up the Thetis hill on the highway that could easily be extra 50s that just start late in the route. I get that not all could do that, some repositioning runs just don't make sense as they would have to kick everyone off the bus at an inconvenient point, and sometimes speed is a necessity, but LTC is right near Langford Exchange and VTC is right next to Uptown. Why not create new specials. Create an extra bus route that operates at horribly irregular intervals, you'd still get a butload of people using Google Transit and all the other apps riding on it. Just like I've used the 17 to get to the 70 at McKenzie (never again, too many tweens) thanks to Google Maps.

Fun note about that was when I showed up at the stop for 17 the driver of the 12 that was about to leave didn't even think the 17 was a real bus. Like I said, if it's scheduled, and it's available in the GTFS datastreams, people will use it. And it can't hurt if that bus is already going that way. I can't even count the number of times when I was going to UVIC, waiting for the 26, 39, 16 or 51 at Shelbourne and McKenzie and five NIS buses headed for UVIC would go by in the time that a single 26 would roll up to the stop as "Sorry, Bus Full." 

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Funny thing is, a long time ago (at least 5 years ago, if not more), transit tried a thing where tripper buses from Langford would be parked at VTC at the end of their morning shift, then the drivers would be shuttled back to LTC in a bus. However that didn't work out because they were having to pay all this overtime for drivers to sit around and wait for the bus to leave. It was transit's way of trying to reduce deadheading 

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I wish there was some sorta reverse direction Cowichan Valley service. Like even if it's only one morning trip up and one afternoon trip down it'd open the option to take transit in both directions 6 days a week. Technically it's possible to bus from Vic to Lake Cowichan 6 days a week, but since the Cowichan/Duncan route (plus the 2 little Youbou and Honeymoon Bay connectors) start after the last Victoria bus comes down Saturday is the only time the reverse is possible with thanks to midday 44 service. This goes for a lot or all of the Cowichan Valley local routes. It'd open the Cowichan Valley to some level of daytrips, which would be awesome. I know enough people who drive between the two daily, there's certainly travel demand.

Also Shawnigan Lake could have totally been rolled into the Vic system had history gone differently. It's a similar distance from downtown to it as it is to Sooke and Sydney. Also huh never realized the trend of S names on the edge of Greater Victoria lol. The Malahat is sorta a breakpoint but so is highway 14 tbh. Once the Sooke area plan is implemented highway 14 at Otter Point road will receive service under the Victoria system while being a 50km drive from the legislature. I mean it does seem a little more integrated into Mill Bay and Duncan in terms of daily life stuff, but there's been ads on Langford bus stops for some Cobble Hill pizza place so like the connections between the 2 systems could stand to see some substantial improvements.

 

Actually on that note, should the E&N ever get reactivated with say hourly service between Vic and Duncan, the Cowichan Valley would instantly become the next growing commuter suburb. Duncan has the urban core to support some level of it already. Do I think it'll happen? Not really, but who knows the future is uncertain in times like these

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1 hour ago, SomeIslandKid said:

I wish there was some sorta reverse direction Cowichan Valley service. Like even if it's only one morning trip up and one afternoon trip down it'd open the option to take transit in both directions 6 days a week. Technically it's possible to bus from Vic to Lake Cowichan 6 days a week, but since the Cowichan/Duncan route (plus the 2 little Youbou and Honeymoon Bay connectors) start after the last Victoria bus comes down Saturday is the only time the reverse is possible with thanks to midday 44 service. This goes for a lot or all of the Cowichan Valley local routes. It'd open the Cowichan Valley to some level of daytrips, which would be awesome. I know enough people who drive between the two daily, there's certainly travel demand.

Also Shawnigan Lake could have totally been rolled into the Vic system had history gone differently. It's a similar distance from downtown to it as it is to Sooke and Sydney. Also huh never realized the trend of S names on the edge of Greater Victoria lol. The Malahat is sorta a breakpoint but so is highway 14 tbh. Once the Sooke area plan is implemented highway 14 at Otter Point road will receive service under the Victoria system while being a 50km drive from the legislature. I mean it does seem a little more integrated into Mill Bay and Duncan in terms of daily life stuff, but there's been ads on Langford bus stops for some Cobble Hill pizza place so like the connections between the 2 systems could stand to see some substantial improvements.

 

Actually on that note, should the E&N ever get reactivated with say hourly service between Vic and Duncan, the Cowichan Valley would instantly become the next growing commuter suburb. Duncan has the urban core to support some level of it already. Do I think it'll happen? Not really, but who knows the future is uncertain in times like these

 mean, if we're going for personal opinions again... I think all BC Transit services should be interregionally integrated. Enough with this "try to figure out which weird obscure tiny bus operator runs a bus once a week to the place you need to get to then try to figure out how to manage four transfers between different companies" garbage. Don't get me wrong, I love the company I make maps for, but it needs to be centralized or at least put into one large planning structure the way many countries handle their rail services - planned by the government, operated by franchise and contract. Now we've gone waaaaaaaaay off topic. My point is that the entire east-coast corridor of Vancouver Island should be one system, since, with a few small breaks (Ladysmith to Cassidy and Deep Bay to Fanny Bay are the only gaps), there is some form of transit service all the way from Victoria to Campbell River. We need a proper backbone... oh, you know, like maybe a railway? Sorry, you got me started on this, I'll never stop. 

 

tl;dr BC Transit on Eastern Vancouver Island needs to be one system all the way from Victoria to Campbell River, planned locally but also at an interregional level to provide connections.

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5 hours ago, Matt Dunlop said:

New Natural Gas Vicinity's should be on their way for Abbotsford and Victoria! Photos from a decal company on Facebook. 

Can only assume that the fleet numbers will be 4200 onwards.

I love them but man do they look weird. A suitable replacement for the ugly duckling Darts. Looking forward to riding one of these eventually... I haven't even managed to get on a CNG flyer yet.

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On 7/10/2020 at 8:03 PM, InfiNorth said:

I love them but man do they look weird. A suitable replacement for the ugly duckling Darts. Looking forward to riding one of these eventually... I haven't even managed to get on a CNG flyer yet.

I could be wrong, but I think these are meant to replace the Arbocs (these are 32-feet long). I thought the 4400's were meant to replace the Darts originally? 

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2 hours ago, Matt Dunlop said:

I could be wrong, but I think these are meant to replace the Arbocs (these are 32-feet long). I thought the 4400's were meant to replace the Darts originally? 

Hey don't look at me, I just ride buses and take occasional pictures. I know very little about the fleet, I'm into the history of bus routes... yeah it's a weird niche but it's my niche and I don't even know what you mean by 4400s.

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10 hours ago, InfiNorth said:

Hey don't look at me, I just ride buses and take occasional pictures. I know very little about the fleet, I'm into the history of bus routes... yeah it's a weird niche but it's my niche and I don't even know what you mean by 4400s.

Okay fair enough. 4400-series are the longer 35-foot Vicinity buses. They are commonly found on the 3 and 10, sometimes the #2. They are mostly out of Victoria garage. 

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For those interested, the current Rider's Guide has finally been posted for download on the BCT website.

There are enough CNG Vicinities slated for Victoria to replace the final 4 Darts and 2 Arbocs that are currently plated and only used as a last resort. 

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8 minutes ago, CV92 said:

For those interested, the current Rider's Guide has finally been posted for download on the BCT website.

There are enough CNG Vicinities slated for Victoria to replace the final 4 Darts and 2 Arbocs that are currently plated and only used as a last resort. 

Thanks for the info. 

I wish transit would do like they did back in the late 90s and charge whatever for a riders guide. That way people that prefer them can buy them and use them, and the people who just "look" and throw them out wont' be bothered because there would be a small fee involved. Even if they charged $1, just to cover the printing costs, it would help alot of people out. Make them only available at the headquarters. 

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31 minutes ago, Matt Dunlop said:

Thanks for the info. 

I wish transit would do like they did back in the late 90s and charge whatever for a riders guide. That way people that prefer them can buy them and use them, and the people who just "look" and throw them out wont' be bothered because there would be a small fee involved. Even if they charged $1, just to cover the printing costs, it would help alot of people out. Make them only available at the headquarters. 

In my mind there's definitely no place for the Riders Guides on the buses going forward. It provides an unnecessary touch point. Plus, with everything going online, the number of people that care to have a printed copy is diminishing. Let's be honest, us Transit enthusiasts are in the minority. For most people, online trip planning apps are more than sufficient and frankly all the average passenger is looking for. I suggest make them available at a few select places in town - the Transit office, BC Ferries terminals, public libraries, recreation centres, and city/municipal halls are a good starting point. Maybe see if some private businesses also want to carry them, like major shopping centres.

However, keep them complimentary. It's not fair to charge a fee -  the people most likely to need the print copies are members of the vulnerable sector such as low-income earners and seniors who don't have the capacity to access the information by other means. 

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26 minutes ago, CV92 said:

In my mind there's definitely no place for the Riders Guides on the buses going forward. It provides an unnecessary touch point. Plus, with everything going online, the number of people that care to have a printed copy is diminishing. 

However, keep them complimentary. It's not fair to charge a fee

It's an accessibility issue. I don't want to have to use a portion of my world's-most-expensive-mobile-data every time I want to take the bus. Many people don't even have the option, when having data costs more in Canada than anywhere else worldwide. As I've mentioned to Matt in the past, that isn't of concern on frequent corridors, but loads of stops in the CRD see buses less than once an hour, meaning that someone without data can't just show up and wait for the right bus. Imagine trying to catch the 83 on a whim without access to a schedule. Rider's Guides need to continue existing for equity reasons... for the same reasons that it's not fair to charge a fee. Charging a fee for a paper guide is just a different place to dump your money than into the pockets of the Canadian telecoms.

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On 6/28/2020 at 7:53 PM, Matt Dunlop said:

I've only seen 1 driver wear a mask, and that's because he had a cold and didn't want to spread it around. Yes, he probably should have stayed home but with transit, you don't show up, you don't get paid. I don't wear a mask myself, they are way too uncomfortable. 

Are you saying the union contract for Victoria's operators does not have a provision for paid sick time? That their only choice is time off without pay?

I find that hard to believe.

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1 hour ago, northwesterner said:

Are you saying the union contract for Victoria's operators does not have a provision for paid sick time? That their only choice is time off without pay?

I find that hard to believe.

I too find that pretty difficult to believe. As a teacher, even working literally one day a week under contract, I accumulated two sick days by the end of the year. They surely have sick days. 

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2 hours ago, InfiNorth said:

It's an accessibility issue. I don't want to have to use a portion of my world's-most-expensive-mobile-data every time I want to take the bus. Many people don't even have the option, when having data costs more in Canada than anywhere else worldwide. As I've mentioned to Matt in the past, that isn't of concern on frequent corridors, but loads of stops in the CRD see buses less than once an hour, meaning that someone without data can't just show up and wait for the right bus. Imagine trying to catch the 83 on a whim without access to a schedule. Rider's Guides need to continue existing for equity reasons... for the same reasons that it's not fair to charge a fee. Charging a fee for a paper guide is just a different place to dump your money than into the pockets of the Canadian telecoms.

Before I had data I had to use the ones on the bus to figure out what's the best way to get sorta close to my house when the 50 was late and it broke the transfer to the (too early) last bus to my neighbourhood for example. It was figuring out how the 52 worked and walking 20ish minutes, or walking 60ish minutes.

So yeah, having rider's guides on board is good. It is a touch point, but like people should've been washing their hands after taking transit since well before the pandemic lol

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2 hours ago, northwesterner said:

Are you saying the union contract for Victoria's operators does not have a provision for paid sick time? That their only choice is time off without pay?

I find that hard to believe.

I can't say, but I have heard that BC Transit operators only get 6 paid sick days per year. They can take a "zero day" if they use up all their paid sick days. But most operators have a decent immune system considering they're in a bus sharing the same air as hundreds of other people. 

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39 minutes ago, Matt Dunlop said:

I can't say, but I have heard that BC Transit operators only get 6 paid sick days per year. They can take a "zero day" if they use up all their paid sick days. But most operators have a decent immune system considering they're in a bus sharing the same air as hundreds of other people. 

I mean, you're the one who said it, so....


*****

It's a good thing the internet exists, as I just looked up the union contract.
Six days of sick leave (48hrs) into a bank at the start of every year. That seems pretty low, so I kept reading.
Oh, what's this... once you're out for more than 4 days a Short Term Disability Plan kicks in, paying 96% of scheduled days pay from day 4 through 8 weeks, and then 85% for weeks 9 through 17.

Seems like they have a very generous plan.

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2 minutes ago, northwesterner said:


Six days of sick leave (48hrs) into a bank at the start of every year. That seems pretty low, so I kept reading.
Oh, what's this... once you're out for more than 4 days a Short Term Disability Plan kicks in, paying 96% of scheduled days pay from day 4 through 8 weeks, and then 85% for weeks 9 through 17.

Seems like they have a very generous plan.

That is exceptionally generous. Any driver choosing to go to work when sick during a pandemic with this kind of coverage... doesn't really have my sympathies. Masks are for everyone, anyways, not just people who are sick. I suppose that it could potentially be a new driver who hasn't banked enough days...?

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