Duncan to Victoria commuter rail plan mulled

B.C. Transit sites many barriers, but Island Corridor Foundation pleads patience

The Island Corridor Foundation and B.C. Transit are investigating the viability of an intercity passenger rail pilot project from Duncan to Victoria called the Salish Express.

The idea, according to Island Corridor Foundation executive director Graham Bruce, is to explore a commuter service for the western communities of Greater Victoria that might help to alleviate the current traffic congestion along the Island Highway.

It’s an idea explored before.

Back in 2009-2010, the province costed out a similar service with an estimated $64.2 million capital cost.

A new study, completed by B.C. Transit in May, has come up with much lower capital cost estimate.

The report proposes fares of $11 from Duncan-Shawnigan Lake, and $2.50 from Langford. It also predicts a daily ridership of 389 this year, rising to 560 in 2026. That’s based on one trip between Duncan and Victoria per day, and two trips between the West Shore and Victoria in both the morning and afternoon.

B.C. Transit estimates annual revenue for the Salish Express at $318,000, and annual operating costs at between $2 million to $4 million. The capital cost estimate is $1.5 million. It assumes the completion of $15 million in track upgrades.  It also assumes an ongoing assessment of the rail bridges and trestles find no major problems.

B.C. Transit also identified many barriers to the pilot project.

“The terminus would be in Victoria West, which requires a transfer to bus as part of the  passenger trip,” the report states. “Without improving travel times from the West Shore, the ability to divert trips from existing modes is limited.”

Bruce cautions against coming to conclusions.

The report is primarily a collection of baseline details that will be used for a more rigorous assessment in due course,” he wrote. “The ICF needs to review the data collected and test some of the assumptions found in the report.”

Any solution to the transit issues of the Capital Regional District will be costly, Bruce added. “The light rail transit plan of $950 million gives governments and taxpayers some idea of the scope of those costs.”

Just Posted

Saanich residents face higher sewer, water and garbage rates

Council is set to ratify an increase of 10.52 per cent for sewer

Saanich Police board chair supports department in case over fired officer, but key questions remain

Case involves former Saanich constable who was the subject of 15 separate misconduct allegations

Remember Spunky? Santa came out to Sidney to check on him

Red-tailed Hawk made headlines last year after being stolen, raised by eagles

MISSING: 59-year-old Pamela Fletcher

Fletcher was last seen in the area near Royal Jubilee Hospital on Dec. 10

Mainroad South Island reminds drivers to keep them in the loop

Call the hotlines for concerns on local provincial highways

Langford elementary school kids test their hand at entrepreneurship

Students sold their own products at a Young Entrepreneurs Fair Friday

POLL: Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

The rain Vancouver Island is famous for is coming down in buckets,… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 11, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

‘Ghost bikes’ installed to remember teen cyclists who died in Port Alberni

Cycle Alberni installs memorials to remember teens, remind all about road safety

‘I practically begged’: Kootenay woman with breast cancer denied referral to Calgary

Breast cancer patient left to fight disease alone after being denied referral to Calgary

21 detained before Paris protests as police deploy in force

There was a strong police presence outside the central Saint Lazare train station, where police in riot gear checked bags

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

Most Read