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

VicPD seeks person of interest after short-term rental ransacked

Combined losses for damage and theft are over $5,000

Whitecaps favourite switches to the Island

Marcel de Jong worked to end Whitecaps contract, joining Pacific FC on the ground floor

RCMP ask for public’s help to determine cause of weekend fire

RCMP are investigating the cause of the South Island Concrete fire

UVic’s cutting-edge centre leading the way in drones and AI

Centre For Aerospace Research works with partners including Department of National Defence

Langford barber shop donates cuts for veterans’ cause

Hair cuts raise funds for Wounded Warrior Run, which travels from Port Hardy to Victoria

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

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

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

Most Read