faqs > about the project

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)?
What does this mean for me?
Why a busway?
Why Douglas Street?
Why do we need to change things now?
When will construction of the busway begin?
What is being done to address business concerns?
What does 'transit priority' mean?

What is Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)?
Bus Rapid Transit or BRT is a modern high capacity, efficient transit mode that combines the convenience and quality typical of rail service with the flexibility and cost advantages of buses. BRT service is in operation in many communities around the world and has been successful in increasing transit ridership. BRT projects include specially identified, high frequency, reliable service, designated stations linked to local land use, exclusive bus lanes, information and traffic systems technology. For more information: www.gobrt.org or http://www.calstart.org/programs/brt/new/index.php?p=programs

What does this mean for me?
This is the beginning of rapid transit that residents have been asking for. The busway will relieve the areas of traffic congestion, provide facilities designed for growth and give you a viable travel option. As a bus rider, the transit priority signals and later the busway will give you faster travel between downtown and Westshore/Saanich Roads.

Why a busway?
A busway provides a higher quality service to transit than other alternatives. In curb side bus only lanes, rapid bus service conflicts with local buses which stop more often and with traffic turning right into driveways and side streets. A median busway in the road's center provides an exclusive area for rapid bus service to operate with a minimum of conflict results in the highest quality of service.

Why Douglas Street?
Douglas Street has been the main travel corridor into downtown Victoria for many years. In 1998, the City of Victoria designated the center of Douglas Street as their preferred corridor for future rapid transit. As the population of Greater Victoria grows, more and more cars, trucks and bicycles will use this street. We cannot expand the street, so we must make more efficient use of it. Giving priority to public transit makes it a more attractive and viable option for people who might otherwise take their own vehicles to work, which reduces congestion and improves traffic flow for everyone.

Why do we need to change things now?
Traffic congestion continues to grow and delay adds no benefit to the project. Federal and provincial infrastructure funding has recently provided $5.1 million towards construction of a busway along Douglas Street. This provides an opportunity to act now to plan a transit system that will work better for all of us, well into the future.

When will construction of the busway begin?
Detailed alignment plans for the busway will be presented to municipalities, Ministry of Transportation, Regional District and Transit Commission in January 2008. Following approval of these plans and acquisition of any needed budget a construction schedule can be developed. It is expected that construction would potentially begin in the winter of 2009.

What is being done to address business concerns?
During the first round of business and public consultations, businesses along Douglas Street raised several concerns relating to access, parking and loading. The development of the busway in the center of the street means that left turn access across the busway will be limited to locations with traffic signals. Since the meetings, plans have been revised to increase the number of left turn opportunities along the corridor providing better access to businesses and adjacent commercial neighbourhoods. U-turns have also been discussed with municipal and provincial officials to increase the access to business. Project planners are also working with municipal staff to identify opportunities to replace parking and loading areas now on Douglas Street with similar facilities on adjacent side streets.

What does 'transit priority' mean?
Transit Priority means finding ways to make public transit systems work better. Cities around the world have used a wide range of transit priority measures to help keep traffic moving smoothly, including: changes to traffic signals, exclusive transit lanes, roadway improvements and changes to scheduling. Transit priority measures usually have a positive effect on all vehicle traffic.

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Keeping you informed

April, 2008 - Public Delegation Meeting
Douglas Street Busway

The Victoria Regional Transit Commission is hosting a Public Delegation Meeting:
Thursday, April 3 • 7pm • Blanshard Ballroom
Holiday Inn, 3020 Blanshard Street
Register online.

BC Transit held several open houses in late January. If you missed them, visit the document library archives to see plans and to provide your feedback.

If you would like to give us your feedback, click here.