2018 Council

Vote Bill Manners

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A New Idea for Nanaimo Transit

I want the City of Nanaimo to work with the Regional District of Nanaimo to improve our transit service.

What irks you most about Nanaimo transit?

Is it the distance from your home to the nearest bus stop?

Is it the time you have to wait between buses?

Is it the fact that it's faster to walk to some destinations in Nanaimo than to take the bus?

Have you had to give up certain job opportunities because they are not on a bus route, or because the bus doesn't arrive on time for your shift?

Does it give you no time to lead a life because your commute to work eats up too many hours out of your day?

Wouldn't you like your city council to work with the RDN to make some changes to the way that transit is handled in Nanaimo?

It wouldn't be an easy job.  It would require some zoning changes to increase urban density in some areas, for one thing.  We need more apartment buildings that are higher than six stories instead of sprawling buildings that are less than 5 stories, for example.  That would increase the urban density numbers and give us more transit hours.  We would need to create neighbourhood nodes - a system that was looked at a few years ago but fell by the wayside.  This would create destinations for buses to stop at and drive ridership numbers.

The biggest thing would have to be the routes themselves.  What we have clearly isn't working.  Currently, in the evenings, we have three buses that leave Prideaux Street, and head in a northward direction all within a few minutes of each other.  Then there is no other bus going in that direction for an hour or more.  Who does that serve?  Practically no one who wants to shop, take in a beautiful summer evening walk along our waterfront, or spend any sort of time downtown.  Having buses that are leaving at staggered times would be much more practical and go a long ways towards downtown revitalization.

What about this idea?  It's called a backbone system.  Nanaimo is a long, narrow city.  If we have a bus route that just travels up and down the main arteries at regular intervals.  Then we have smaller routes that travel to different neighbourhoods.  The small routes connect to the large route at various nodes along the way.  The large route only stops at those nodes to save time.  It might mean more transfers for some bus users, but it would dramatically decrease the amount of travel time.  During the rush hour, have the large route buses running at 15-minute intervals.  That would make it easier for people to get to work faster and encourage many people to leave their cars at home.  Drop the interval time to 22 minutes during business hours, and 35 minutes in the off hours.  It would certainly decrease the wait times, and make taking a bus a lot more of an attractive option.  The more transit is used the lower the effect it has on taxation.

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