Transit braces for Canada Day rush in Victoria

Don’t bring your booze downtown on the bus on July 1

B.C. Transit buses will be jockeyed differently downtown for the post-Canada Day rush on Sunday evening.

When tens of thousands of people flood downtown Victoria to celebrate Canada Day on Sunday, it will be all hands on deck at B.C. Transit.

The bus company is hoping to put an extra 40 buses on the road, bringing the total to 72, to help transport the masses home after the festivities draw to a close.

An additional 10 bus stops along Douglas Street in the core will also be established with temporary signage, where people can catch a ride home.

Other plans are in the works.

“Every year we get better at co-ordination, so this year we are using side streets as a holding or staging area for our buses, a little bit closer to the Inner Harbour itself,” said Meribeth Burton, B.C. Transit spokesperson.

Though the Sunday bus schedule will be in effect, the service will ramp up, as needed.

“We watch the numbers,” Burton said.

For the third year, closed alcohol will be banned from transit buses on July 1. The hope is that the move will help reduce the number of vandalized buses and those in which people throw up.

“A sick bus costs a lot of money to take it out of service,” Burton said. “It’s a health hazard and it happens all the time.”

Transit passengers may be asked to temporarily exit the bus at police checkpoints, where officers will be waiting to check bags for booze. The Canada Day initiative began three years ago.

“Some West Shore buses (headed to downtown Victoria) could be stopped two or three times,” Burton said.

emccracken@vicnews.com

Keep in touch

• Stay on top of the latest developments in downtown Victoria on Canada Day by following the Victoria Police Department on Twitter @vicpdcanada and B.C. Transit @BC_Transit.