4.0 CONCEPTUAL SERVICE OPTIONS
Part B - Service expansion options planned for 2002/03
Currently there is hourly service between Parksville and Qualicum Beach, but there are gaps in the connecting service between Parksville and Woodgrove. It is proposed to increase service to hourly from 7 AM to 7 PM Monday through Saturday so that each Qualicum Beach-Parksville trip links with a Parksville-Woodgrove trip. This will require an additional vehicle and 4,100 annual hours of service. This will provide greater flexibility and convenience for those travelling between Nanaimo and Parksville-Qualicum Beach, and allow for better connections throughout the Nanaimo Regional Transit System. Key markets will include students, commuters, shoppers, and seniors.
The South End of Nanaimo is currently served by the #5 Fairview and #6 Harewood, which both operate on an hourly service frequency. The public opinion survey found that residents of the South End were the most likely to use transit; 40% had used transit in the past three months compared with 26% of the overall population in Nanaimo. A detailed South End sector plan will look at improvements that can be made to this service, including increased frequencies, more direct service, and better connections to Malaspina University College.
Summary of Service Improvements:
Service expansion options for the medium range - 2003-05
This expansion would extend peak period 15-minute commuter service, introduced on three trunk routes in 1996, to the #2 Hammond Bay. This will require 2 additional buses operating 7 hours each weekday. As part of this expansion, the route structure for the Hammond Bay service will be reviewed. The current routing does result in some confusion and inconvenience for some passengers.
Most routes in the Nanaimo Regional Transit System currently begin operating around 7 AM. As a result, the system cannot serve many commuters who have early start times. For example, it is impossible to arrive downtown from the north end before 7:15 AM. It is proposed that the service be extended by up to one hour in the morning to better serve these early commuters. An earlier start time was one of the most requested improvements in the recent on-board survey. This will require 18 buses to operate an additional hour each weekday. No additional buses are required.
Currently, there is a limited number of College Express trips operating between Malaspina University-College and Woodgrove. This service has been successful and expansion will be examined. In particular, with the introduction of hourly service between Woodgrove and Parksville, there is an opportunity to link these trips, via the express service, to MUC.
The Cinnabar neighbourhood is currently served by the #7 Chase River that operates on an hourly service frequency. The Cedar area receives limited service primarily associated with commuter trips to Harmac. A Cinnabar/Cedar service review will examine area coverage and upgraded frequencies. Service to Cedar will also take into account extension of service to Duke Point. Immediate service improvements planned for Southgate (Shoppers Express) will stimulate the need for improved local coverage.