If you’re going to spend upwards of 45 minutes commuting to work every day, you might as well be comfortable doing it.
With construction on the McKenzie interchange looming and traffic from the West Shore into Victoria promising to slow even further, the City of Langford is introducing a service that they hope makes commuters’ trips to work more relaxing.
“I’m trying to get Langford taxpayers into town cheaply, that’s my goal,” said Mayor Stew Young.
The brand new Langtoria Greenline is scheduled to enter service on Oct. 17, taking passengers from various pickup points in Langford to downtown Victoria in the morning and bringing those same passengers home in the evening. In addition to reserved seating on a coach bus, the service offers amenities such as free coffee, newspapers and WiFi, with the goal of making the trip to and from work as painless as possible.
The service will run Monday to Friday and fares will be in the range of $5 to $6 per day, or $100 to $120 per month, although those numbers have yet to be finalized.
Pickup points will include the Luxton area, Westhills near the YMCA/YWCA and a location in downtown Langford.
The City will contract Wilson Transportation to deliver the service for $60,000 per year. The contractors will receive revenue from fares and Langford will recuperate costs by selling advertising on the outside of the bus.
Because this is a City initiative, Langford residents will receive a discount on their fares.
While the service will debut with one bus, Young said they will look to expand it in the future if it proves to be popular.
“If it’s successful, they fill it and it works, then absolutely … it’ll be expanded. But it’s going to be based on common sense and dollars and making sure that the financial case is good for it.”
Wilson’s Transportation already has an existing relationship with the City of Langford, having taken over the contract for the Langford trolley earlier this year. Discussion started around that time about a possible commuter service, following failed attempts to revive train service along the E&N rail line.
“We thought that in the fall we’d take a closer look at it and put something together,” said company owner John Wilson, adding that the bus to be used at the service’s launch date is already in his fleet.
Some seats will be removed from the coach, which has a typical 56 or 60 seat layout but will be fitted for 51 passengers.
“This gives them extended leg room, they have drop down tables for putting things like laptops in front of you, and reclining seats … and climate control systems,” Wilson noted.
The service is billed as being the Greenline, which Young hopes will get people’s attention.
“Let’s just make sure that we know that when you’re getting on a bus in Langford you’re doing green initiatives, you’re getting out of your car,” he said. “I’m hoping it works because I have no other solution for the traffic.”
Passes and tickets are not yet available, although Young encourages interested commuters to contact the City so that they can be notified as soon as they are ready for purchase.