A commuter gets off the Langtoria Greenline bus on Goldstream Avenue earlier this year. The service debuted in October but was cancelled this week because of low ridership levels. Joel Tansey/News Gazette staff

Langford cancels Langtoria Greenline and trolley amid low ridership

Riders on the West Shore commuter coach were informed of decision this morning

Low ridership has led to the cancellation of the Langtoria Greenline and the Langford trolley, both of which operated as a public-private partnership between the City of Langford and Wilsons Transportation.

The Langtoria’s 18 riders were informed of the decision through a letter this morning. The line will continue until the end of June so that riders can make other transportation plans.

The service began last fall and hoped to give commuters a luxurious option for their commute, offering free WiFi and coffee on a coach bus.

But by the end of 2016, ridership levels were such that the City was subsidizing the service to the tune of $20.83 per rider per day. The overall budget for the Langtoria was $60,000 per year.

“We gave the Langtoria service a very good try. We were trying to give people travel options because of the (Colwood) Crawl and knowing that the McKenzie interchange was going in and would cause considerably more traffic tie-ups,” said Coun. Lillian Szpak.

The failed experiment signaled that speed, and not necessarily comfort, would be the deciding factor in terms of getting people out of their cars, according to Szpak.

“If folks are sitting in the traffic and it’s taking the same amount of time or even slower because there’s no dedicated transit lane, they might just as well take a city bus or get in their car,” she said.

The trolley began operation 10 years ago, although its service levels have slowed in recent years in response to increased service levels from B.C. Transit. Its fares were collected by donation, with much of the revenue coming through advertising.

“It was (initiated) to fill a gap in affordable and accessible transit options, because at that time BC Transit wasn’t as good as it is now,” she said, noting that public transportation service levels have increased by 76 per cent since that time.

Still, both services were well-received by riders, Szpak noted.

“With these kinds of things you’re always going to have people who were dedicated users to it. Don’t forget that there were 18 people on the Langtoria line that will really miss this bus.”

The City will continue to look at travel choices for its residents, Szpak said, including commuter rail along the E&N corridor and dedicated bus lanes to and from the West Shore.

In March, the provincial government announced it was taking a closer look at a commuter rail service that could take riders from Langford’s Westhills neighbourhood to Vic West.

joel.tansey@goldstreamgazette.com

Twitter:@joelgazette

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