Saanich supports rail-based rapid transit

Saanich gives top priority to rail-based rapid transit
By Kim Westad, Times Colonist November 3, 2010

Saanich council has taken the lead in pushing for rail-based rapid transit linking the West Shore with downtown Victoria.

It voted unanimously in favour of rail being the preferred option for the transit system, and hopes other municipalities will follow its lead, said councillor Dean Murdock, who brought the motion forward.

“A rail-based solution could provide huge environmental, social and economic benefits,” Murdock said yesterday.

B.C. Transit has been studying a rapid transit system that would ease the gridlock on the roads for two years. It would see construction of a dedicated right of way so that either light rail trains or rubber-wheeled vehicles, such as buses or trams, could pass clogged vehicle traffic.

Murdock says trains use the way to increase usage of rapid transit, key to its success. “It provides a ridership increase you cannot achieve with buses,” said Murdock. In Vancouver, ridership on the new Canada line achieved its 10-year projection within the first year, he said.

A key consideration for B.C. Transit is attracting new riders. Rail is the way to do it, Murdock said.

“I think people recognize it as a system they can rely on, that it’s going to be there no matter what and provides a more quality, enjoyable ride. They have travelled abroad where rail is commonplace.”

B.C. Transit is working with the provincial ministry of transportation and the Capital Regional District on the rapid transit plan.