ACRD Board Decide to Investigate Public Transit

At the ACRD Regional District meeting on Wednesday February 24 the Board did two things: They heard from Travis Wilson of Wilson Transportation/Tofino Bus on the situation they are facing, and then as a separate item they addressed the topic of inter-regional transit service.

The Board decided to add inter-regional transit to their Port Alberni/ACRD Future Transit Future Service Plan which is slated to begin deliberations in 2022. Hooray!!

At the Youtube video below it should start when they are speaking on whether to pursue public transit. It is well worth watching.

Of course I wish it would happen sooner but at least with that change officially made we know that local government is taking the issue seriously and they can more effectively lobby with other regional districts along the same lines!

At the end of the day this isn’t about a competition between Wilson’s Bus and BC Transit. It’s about serving a population that hasn’t been able to use private bus service for a long time, if ever. It’s also about giving people options so they can get out of their cars. In the end, that helps tourism services like Wilson’s as well.

Thanks to Director Coté and Chair Jack for their supportive words and the whole Board for agreeing to see this through and for the City of Port Alberni for also expressing their support of moving in this direction!

I don’t feel it is an exaggeration to say that ubiquitous public transit will change lives on Vancouver Island!

Thanks also to Wilson’s for their continued commitment to our region and communities. You can hear Mr. Wilson’s comments below:

Original Post – Maps and Letters below

This morning the Comox Valley Record published an article about Regional District directors in Comox and Nanaimo advocating for connecting services between all communities on the Island.

At the bottom of this post I have included maps showing where BC Transit currently has service. You’ll be able to see the gaps are shrinking on the East side of the Island, but the North and West side remain largely disconnected.

After my previous letter, I was invited by the ACRD to participate or file a letter for their ongoing discussion on the topic of Wilson’s Transport and bus services. The AV News also published a story including comments from Nuu-cha-nulth President Judith Sayers on the concerns of remote communities with the suspension of bus service.

Below is my response to the ACRD in full. I’ve added a few links which appear only in this blog. Hopefully these are the beginnings of an Island wide transit service.

Dear ACRD Board,

Thank you very much for your consideration of this important issue. I regret I am unable to join you during your meeting, however, I would like to draw your attention to a February 19, 2021 story in the Comox Valley Record titled: “Regional District directors asking province to connect Public Transit across the Island”.

I cannot add any more than what Directors Arbour of Comox Valley RD and Stuart Mclean of RD Nanaimo say in this article. We are already very close to connecting all of the regions of the Island with public transit. There are only a few gaps remaining and it would make sense to take a coordinated approach. Cowichan and Nanaimo have already planned to be connected in 2022. Cowichan and Victoria are already connected. Comox [#10 Courtenay to Fanny Bay/Buckley Bay] and Nanaimo [#91 Intercity – Deep Bay/Qualicum to Woodgrove/Nanaimo] are only a few kilometres apart and that only leaves Qualicum and Port Alberni and the West Coast.

I urge you to open communications with other Regional Districts on the Island and speak as one to the provincial government to connect public transit across the Island.

I hope you will see this not as competition for Wilson’s Transport/Tofino Bus, but rather as filling a gap that they are simply not able to fill at a cost that makes sense for their business. There is ample room for Tourism and Charter based coach services on the Island and I support the provincial government bridging them and all tourism sector businesses to get through this very difficult time.

However, public transit is a service provided by local government for all citizens and I believe we have a rare moment right now to work together with other regions on the Island to ensure all residents of our communities are able to move about the Island safely and affordably.

Thank you very much for your consideration,

Chris Alemany

Maps of Current Island BC Transit Service

You can see where the BC Transit systems on Vancouver Island connect, and don’t, with the map below.

(Note: Port Alberni / ACRD Transit 2 shows a route between Tofino and Ucluelet that the ACRD is currently investigating but is not yet providing)

The Island Wide BC Transit System

Island Transit

Below is Mt. Waddington Transit serving Port Hardy, Coal Harbour, Port McNeill and Woss

Mt Waddington and North Island

Campbell River Transit connects with Comox Valley Transit at Miracle Beach/Black Creek

Campbell River, Courtenay and Nanaimo Transit

Below shows Port Alberni/ and future ACRD, Nanaimo and Cowichan. The Comox Valley and Nanaimo systems nearly meet at Fanny Bay (about 5km apart). Nanaimo and Cowichan are separated by the Cassidy Airport. (about 10km apart). Services connecting Nanaimo and Cowichan, and Tofino and Ucluelet in the ACRD have been proposed.

Showing Port Alberni/ ACRD, Nanaimo and Cowichan.

Finally, Cowichan and Greater Victoria transit have been connected for a number of years with direct service from Duncan to Downtown Victoria.

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