Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Growing system should make changes

Victoria Transit serves an important purpose in our city. Victoria's general shortage of sidewalks and bike lanes around the city means it is not a very pedestrian-friendly town. Victoria Transit offers an option for people who do not have a car to get around town without risking their lives walking or biking through high-traffic areas.

At the Oct. 15 Victoria City Council meeting, the council approved a plan to allocate $209,000 in funding for the Transit system to create two more routes and continued bus service. We are glad to see the transit service is getting support from the city, but we also have some concerns we wish were addressed.

The plan to create two additional routes will be a nice expansion to services, but we wonder if an expansion is all that is needed for the transit service and how efficient it currently is. According to the Victoria Transit website, the system offers a variety of services including three fixed routes that serve 70 stops around the city, four job access routes, transport services for seniors and riders with disabilities and more. Each of these offerings serve a purpose, but how often are each of these services used?

We encourage the Transit system to examine the current service offerings and not only plan an expansion but also take steps to make the system more user-friendly in the coming years. As the new routes are added to the maps, why not make them easier to understand and more user-friendly? The current maps serve their purpose fairly well, but they are not as clear or detailed as they could be. In addition, we would like to see more shaded seating available at stops along major roads. We live in an area that experiences extreme heat during the summer. It would be a much-appreciated courtesy to passengers to have a shaded spot for them to stand while waiting for the bus.

As new developments are added and the budget grows, perhaps the transit system should look into partnering with other community groups that need transportation including seniors citizens, students and clubs such as the Boys & Girls Club or YMCA. Some studies have been done on integrating public transit systems and public schools. Working together to provide the most efficient transportation for all in need could save dollars, lower emissions and get more people using the transit system.

The transit system has served Victoria well over the years, and we appreciate their continued commitment to offering affordable transportation within our community. We look forward to seeing what the new routes will bring to Victoria.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.