A new bus is gearing up to transport West Shore residents to and from Victoria in comfort. The Langtoria Greenline, a commuter service, launches next week.
“It’s all systems go,” said Jeff Warwick, Wilson’s Group project manager. “Monday is going to be the date.”
The coach bus has been retrofitted for the comfort of passengers. Some seats have been removed to increase legroom for the remaining 51 reclining seats, which also feature climate control systems. Wi-Fi was also installed this week to make the trip even more user-friendly.
While on a test drive of the new service on Tuesday, Warwick said he was joking with others on the bus that the ride was so comfortable that he was ready to doze off. “It was a pleasure and you never hear anyone say that about the drive from Langford to Victoria,” he said.
While news of the service broke last month, it’s a project that hasn’t been in the works for very long. “It’s been fast-tracked for a lot of reasons,” Warwick said. “Mayor Young wanted to get it on the road.”
While often the company will spend six months fully developing a new product before it’s unveiled, Warwick said in this case they have the service mostly ready and will make some adjustments as needed over the course of the next three months.
The City of Langford has contracted Wilson’s Transportation Ltd. to deliver the service and hopes to recuperate costs by selling advertising on the outside of the bus as Wilson’s will receive the revenue from fares.
With the service fast approaching its launch date, company staff have been working hard to get the technical details of an online booking system in place, Warwick said. Once the website is up and running – if all goes well, that will also be next week – riders will be able to go online to book their monthly passes, instead of calling in.
Once that’s done, he said, they’ll switch gears and concentrate on getting the word out and educating people on the new service. “Really we haven’t had a lot of time to promote it … It’s kind of a new thing. We all think it will be successful.”
Warwick said roughly 25 people signed on to receive updates and more information on the bus, but “we don’t expect a full bus next week.”
He’s also had some “really good conversations” with the public and has taken some of their feedback to try and accommodate people’s wants and needs. “Some people couldn’t take it because the timing didn’t match,” he said, noting they’ve set the schedule to try to accommodate the largest group of riders possible.
Minor tweaks are still being made to the scheduling, especially after taking the test drive, Warwick said, and minor adjustments are expected to continue once the bus is running regularly.
The service will run Monday to Friday, except statutory holidays, and will have six stops in Victoria and three in Langford. Starting at roughly 6:30 a.m. the bus will pick up passengers at the Langford Aquatic Centre, followed by stops at Goldstream Village and near Langford Fire Rescue’s Station 1.
The bus is estimated to arrive at Uptown at 7:25 a.m. and make stops on Gorge Road East, Douglas and Fort streets, eventually arriving at the downtown bus depot at 7:55 a.m.
At the end of the day, the bus will take a similar route in reverse, starting at the depot at 5:05 p.m. before arriving on the West Shore near Station 1 at 6:10 and finishing in Westhills at 6:30.
A monthly pass will cost $115.50 (GST included), which works out to less than $6 a day. Round-trip day passes are also available for $15.75 but are subject to availability of seats. That subsidized price is discounted for Langford riders, since this service is a City initiative.
That price may change, Warwick noted, once their final costs have been worked out, and non-Langford residents may be charged an additional fee. “We’re not necessarily going there right away … Ideally, we can keep it at that price,” he said, adding “so far I haven’t talked to anyone that isn’t from Langford.”
For more information about the service, go to langtoriagreenline.com, phone 250-940-2485 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.