Upgrades coming to BC Transit fleet, while a major detour is being implemented

The busiest bus route in Greater Victoria is running along a detoured route, while the rest of the fleet gets fitted with new tech.

The #14 Vic General - UVic route, which carries 10-thousand people to work, school, and home every day, is no longer running along Port Ellice Bridge, more commonly known as the Bay Street Bridge.

BC Transit's Planning Manager, James Wadsworth says the change is in preparation for the work that is being planned for the bridge.

"We've moved the route 14, which runs between Vic General and UVic, through View Royal and Esquimalt, and then on through downtown and up to UVic through Richmond.  We're not running that over the Bay Street Bridge, so right now, it's running from downtown over to Vic West over the Johnson Street Bridge."

The detour is timed with the change to the spring schedule, which sees 10 less #14 buses running a day because post-secondary classes have ended, and there isn't as much of a need to get students to UVic or Camosun.  Those buses are either re-allocated to serve different areas on busier days, or are set aside to cut back on maintenance and fuel costs.

The #10 James Bay - Royal Jubilee busses will continue to use the bridge until construction begins later this spring.

The $3.6 million upgrades to the bridge, which includes upgrades to expansion joints, concrete abutments, the road deck, pedestrian handrails and light standards, is expected to start later this spring.  Though the City of Victoria is still in the planning stages, and do not have a timeline yet for when construction will begin or how long it will take.

Meanwhile, BC Transit is installing Next Ride technology on their busses, which BC Transit's General Manager of Operations for Victoria, David Guthrie, says will make travel easier.

"NextRide is an exciting technology that enables our busses, while they are en route, to be tracked via GPS.  Our customers will eventually be able to track it online as well to see exactly when their bus is coming.  It calls out the actual stop rather than the street cross-section, and it also call out in the bus when the bus doors are opened, and has an inside display as well."

Once the new technology is installed, people will be able to track buses and check the capacity though their cell phone app.

Over 150 buses in the Capital Region have already been upgraded with NextRide, and the rest of the fleet is expected to be fully upgraded by the end of July.

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