Commuters coming into town Thursday morning may have faced a pleasant surprise.
The Victoria Police Department and BC Transit were pulling people over along Douglas Street if they were driving in the designated bus lanes, but they weren’t issuing tickets.
Instead, they were giving out educational pamphlets on bus lanes, and even a free bus ticket.
“Since it’s launched, anecdotally we know most drivers are following the rules, but we know that there are still drivers not following the rules, so we’re going to do a graduated approach and start with education,” said VicPD spokesperson Const. Matt Rutherford. “We’re hoping that will be enough of a deterrent.”
The bus lanes launched on Dec. 5, and since then transit riders have noticed improvements on their commute times.
“Now with the lanes and buses out of congestion, we’re seeing time savings of 10-15 minutes depending on the time of day,” said James Wadsworth, senior transit planner at BC Transit.
The lanes run 2.3 km, with most of it put together with the City of Victoria from Fisgard Street to Tolmie Avenue, and a smaller portion by the Ministry of Transportation from Tolmie Avenue to Tillicum Road.
While most people know not to drive in the bus lanes there has been confusion about right hand turns, so police were out reminding people you can use the bus lanes to turn, as long as you are turning within the block.
Cyclists are also allowed to use the bus lanes.
Starting in 2019, enforcement measures will begin to roll out with a potential fee of $109.
BC Transit is also planning additional bus lanes, including outbound lanes from Tillicum to Tolmie, add in View Royal and Colwood along the Island Highway.
More educational pull overs are planned for the northern Douglas Street lanes on Dec. 20.
Today @vicpdcanada and @BCTransit are working to educate drivers on bus lanes. They’ll be stationed along Douglas Street until 9:30 this morning, with more opportunities scheduled next week. #yyj #yyjtraffic @VictoriaNews pic.twitter.com/F94y5bbau4
— Nicole Crescenzi (@NicoleCrescenzi) December 13, 2018