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24 / 25 Colville / Munro Service Options

Colville_Munro News Release
Passenger Survey
Comment Sheet Summary

In the service concept plan for 2006/07 presented to the Victoria Regional Transit Commission in August 2005, the 24 Cedar Hill / Colville and 25 Maplewood / Munro routes were highlighted for service review.

Preliminary concepts at that time identified the need to make changes to these routes due to relatively low performance, particularly in the Vic West and Esquimalt portions of the route. Community bus service was identified as an option to the current conventional service.

Commencing at Admirals Walk in View Royal, the 24 / 25 pair of routes serve local neighbourhoods in Esquimalt and Vic West, continuing through downtown to serve the Cook Street corridor.

The routes branch to serve Cedar Hill Road and Maplewood Road in Saanich terminating at Blenkinsop and McKenzie where connections to the 26 UVIC / Dockyard can be made. The routes operate at relatively low frequency providing a total of 43 trips in each direction during weekdays. Maps of the existing routes are included.

This report presents the service options being considered for the western portion of these routes. And it will form the basis of further detailed service planning and for public consultation with the community and transit ridership regarding these options.

Why are changes being proposed?

BC Transit funding constraints mean that all services must be carefully reviewed to make sure that money is being spent wisely.

Each year, all routes are reviewed to assess ridership relative to the cost of providing service and to targets established for the transit system in total. For the past many years, the 24 / 25 routes have failed to achieve ridership targets. Service changes such as frequency adjustments and route revisions have been employed but performance continues to be poor.

During development of the 2006/07 service plan for budget development, a preliminary analysis of the route's ridership found that the ridership on the two portions of the route were considerably different and warranted different service strategies.

In the Victoria - Saanich portion (the eastern portion), maintenance of conventional bus service appears warranted and route revisions to major activity centers provide an opportunity to increase ridership. These service changes will be discussed in a separate report.

In the western portion of the routes, ridership on the 24/25 routes is very low. The costs of operating the service including debt service on 3.5 buses used for the routes total approximately $875,000. The cost per ride provided is very high relative to other services.

Annual Performance Data - Western Portion Only 24 / 25 Routes

  Hours of Bus Service Number of Trips Number of Buses Used Ridership Total Cost Cost per Ride
Existing Service 11,895 25,925 3.5 152,500 $875,000 $5.73

The ridership in this area was examined in detail looking at the number of persons using the bus in each section of the two routes. As can be seen from this data, ridership on any portion of these routes is very low. In total, the routes average about 6 boardings per trip.

24 / 25 Western Portion Details of Ridership by Route Section

  Number of Weekday Trips Daily Total Persons Boarding a Bus Average # of Persons Boarding per Trip
Route 25 from Admirals Walk to Western Exchange 18 24 1
Route 24 & 25 from Admirals Walk to Admirals and Colville 82 126 1
Route 24 from Admirals & Colville to Lampson & Head 41 48 1
Route 25 from Admirals & Colville to Admirals & Esquimalt 41 47 1
Route 25 from Admirals & Esquimalt to Dunsmuir & Head 41 126 3
Route 24 from Lampson & Head to Esquimalt & Tyee 41 53 1
Route 25 from Dunsmuir & Head to Esquimalt & Catherine 41 73 2
Route 25 - Songhees 41 5 0
Totals 82 502 2

By comparison, on an average trip in the Victoria Regional Transit system more than 38 persons board a bus. On a busy routes such as the 6 Esquimalt / Dockyard, the average number of persons boarding each trip is greater than 50.

The low level of use for these routes in this area results from the limited area that is not served by much more frequent and convenient routes. Most of the area served by the 24 / 25 is also within walking distance of the 6 Royal Oak / Dockyard operating on Esquimalt Road and 14 University / Victoria General Hospital operating on Craigflower Road.

The map below illustrates the market area for the 24/25 routes. As can be seen from the relatively small area without shading, the area not served by more frequent regional routes includes the Admirals Road area south of Admiral Walk and the small area and population of the Munro neighbourhood.

Transit Route Service Areas

map

Most passengers in the area shaded buff in the figure above choose to use the more frequent regional services available on Esquimalt, Lampson and Craigflower Roads. For example, where the 25 Maplewood / Munro offers 41 trips each weekday (20 in each direction), the 6 Esquimalt / Dockyard offers 192.

In fact, detailed analysis of the 24/25 ridership indicates that a significant portion of its ridership from downtown would also use these other services and passengers are boarding the 24 or 25 simply because it comes first and are disembarking in the Vic West area where the 24 /25 duplicate regional service.

The route also provides nine trips in each direction between Western Exchange and Esquimalt including the Dockyard and Naden. The maximum volume of these trips average less than 5 people. While this connection appears to provide a very important link between these communities, there also appears to be almost no demand for this travel.

The conclusion drawn from the ridership analysis indicates that:

  1. There is insufficient market to support the conventional transit services currently operated in this area. There is no reasonable expectation that ridership can be increased to meet performance targets.
  2. The neighbourhoods served by the 24/25 are well connected to the regional transit network through services operating on major corridors.
  3. Admirals Road is a major regional road and may have a developing transit market with future development. Connections between Dockyard and Westshore communities is an important regional link as evidenced by auto travel but existing transit demand is virtually nil.
  4. Community bus service - which is cheaper to operate, and uses smaller vehicles may be more appropriate to use to develop community focused service.

What is Community Bus?

community bus

Community buses are 20-passenger vans as shown in the photo. These buses are fully accessible through a rear lift. These smaller buses offer several benefits to service:

  • More flexible routing as they can operate on smaller streets, parking lots
  • Quieter, less intrusive to neighbourhoods
  • Lower cost of acquisition and operation Community buses have been successfully implemented in the Victoria region to provide service to suburban neighbourhoods in the Western Communities and Saanich Peninsula.

Service Options

There are three general changes to service that are being reviewed:

  1. Cancel all service
  2. Keep the existing route reduce costs (by reducing service or using smaller vehicles)
  3. Replace current service with new service designed for the ridership we see today.

For each service option presented below we have conducted a preliminary assessment of the option in terms of its cost, ridership, connections with the rest of the transit service, and community impact.

Option 1 — Cancel all service

This change generates a savings of $875,000 per year which can be reallocated to other services where greater demand is being experienced. The removal of service would result in some areas being outside walk limits. However, this is not an uncommon situation in the region.

The removal of local service will result in the loss of transit service to Admirals Road between Admirals Walk and Esquimalt Road, service to the Munro neighbourhood and a portion of the Colville Road area. The extent of the area can be seen on the Transit Route Service Areas map above - the white areas would not be considered beyond a reasonable walk to transit service.

The reallocation of the $875,000 and 3.5 buses would increase overall transit system ridership and performance. If these buses and funds were put into service on routes meeting average ridership performance, an additional 300,000 riders could be carried (an increase of 200%).

Option 2 — Reduce service levels to increase performance

This group of options maintains the current route connections between downtown and the neighbourhoods served by the 24 /25, but reduces service levels to more appropriately reflect the demand seen on the service. One bus is assigned to the route, which allows hourly service in each direction between downtown and Admirals Walk.

There are four variations to this option. Two variants provide hourly service on only the 25 route where most of the ridership is seen. Two variants provide service every two hours to each of the 24 and 25 routes as they currently exist.

In each case, a conventional and a community bus option is considered:

2A — Hourly service via 25 Munro route with conventional bus.

2B — Hourly service via 25 Munro route with community bus.

2C — Service every two hours to 25 Munro and 24 Colville by conventional bus.

2D — Service every two hours to 25 Munro and 24 Colville by community bus.
Service Option Advantages Disadvantages
2A - Hourly service via 25 Munro route with conventional bus
  • The Munro area has higher ridership than the Colville area and warrants the concentration of service.
  • Greater convenience and accessibility of conventional bus service.
  • Removes service from an area of Colville Road. Current ridership on that portion is about 1 person per trip.
  • Higher costs and neighbourhood impacts of conventional bus service.
  • 2B - Hourly service via 25 Munro route with community bus Community bus is less expensive to operate and can accommodate the demand for this service. Community bus vehicles offer a lower level of convenience and accessibility than conventional vehicle.
    2C - Service every 2 hours to 25 Munro and 24 Colville by conventional bus Maintains service to all areas currently served by conventional bus. Service every 2 hours is so low that even captive riders will find it inconvenient. Conventional bus clearly not warranted for this service.
    2D - Service every 2 hours to 25 Munro and 24 Colville by community bus Community bus reduces costs, but ridership expectations very low.  

    Ridership and performance for these options were assessed and are presented below. Ridership was estimated by examining current ridership and service information and comparing to the number of trips and service proposed in each option. Costs are estimated by assessing the number of hours of service provided and vehicles used and factoring these costs based on current BC Transit cost experience. Total cost includes the operating cost plus the annual debt service costs resulting from the use of a conventional or community bus.

    Assessment of Service Options

    Option Buses Hours of Service Total Operating Cost Total Cost Total Annual Ridership Cost per Ride
    2A 1 conventional 14 $277,550 $309,050 72,453 $4.27
    2B 1 community 14 $192,150 $211,650 65,451 $3.23
    2C 1 conventional 14 $277,550 $309,050 66,917 $4.62
    2D 1 community 14 $192,150 $211,650 60,469 $3.50

    Of the Option 2 variants, the one with the best performance is Option 2B, which provides hourly service in each direction between Admirals Walk and downtown along the 25 Munro route. As noted above, this option removes transit service from Colville Road between Lampson and Admirals Roads and along Old Esquimalt Road in Vic West and Esquimalt. This latter area is within walking distance to more frequent service on Esquimalt and Craigflower Roads.

    Option 3 - New local area Community Bus transit routes

    Option 3 variants present local community bus routes which provide service to the neighbourhoods now served by the 24 / 25 but do not connect to downtown. Instead, the local community bus route would focus on neighbourhood centers such as the Esquimalt business area and locations where transfers can be made to regional transit service.

    There are 2 variants. 3A provides a one-way loop design which maintains service to both the current Munro and Colville routes. The second provides a 2-way route but focuses on the Munro neighbourhood. It should be noted in that in both cases, there is no special service to the Vic West neighbourhood. As can be seen in the Service Area map above, there is no need to add additional transit service to this area as it is well served by routes 6 and 14 on Esquimalt Road and Craigflower. The Songhees neighbourhood would lose local service under these options. Current ridership from that neighbourhood is approximately five persons per day.

    3A - Colville / Munro Community Bus Loop

    This route (see map below) provides a one-way loop from Admiral's Walk via Admirals, Esquimalt, Fraser, through the Munro neighbourhood, Dunsmuir Head, Lampson, Colville and Admirals returning to Admiral's Walk after serving the Cooper Road subdivision. A limited number of trips to Parklands could be provided if demand warrants. . The Cooper's Road subdivision would be also served by the route. This not only extends local service to this neighbourhood but by accessing Craigflower Road provided another connection to regional bus services - in this case the 14 UVIC / VGH. Other transfers can be made to the 6 Royal Oak / Dockyard and 26 UVIC / Dockyard on Esquimalt Road.

    While this option maintains service to all areas in View Royal and Esquimalt presently served by the 24 / 25, a one-way loop of this size is not convenient to ridership. While trips in one direction may be convenient, return trips can be very long.

    The loop is about 15 km long and approximately 16 trips would be provided between 7 AM and 7 PM with one community bus.

    Colville Munro Community Bus Loop

    colville munro service map

    3B -Munro Community Bus Route

    This community bus route would link Admirals Walk, Esquimalt town centre and the Munro neighbourhood and senior's oriented developments on Dunsmuir Road in a route operating in both directions. Approximately 15 trips per day would be provided in each direction. A limited number of trips could be provided to the Parklands neighbourhood if demand warrants.

    The Cooper's Road subdivision would be also served by the route. This not only extends local service to this neighbourhood but by accessing Craigflower Road provided another connection to regional bus services - in this case the 14 UVIC / VGH. Other transfers can be made to the 6 Royal Oak / Dockyard and 26 UVIC / Dockyard on Esquimalt Road.

    Munro Community Bus Loop

    munro community bus loop map

    Comparison of Service Options

    The table below summarizes the main advantages and disadvantages of the two options. The two way route is superior to the large one-way route.

    Service Option Advantages Disadvantages
    3A - One-way Munro / Colville Loop
  • Maintains transit service to all areas now served in the area.
  • Includes connection to 14 VGH / UVIC service on Craigflower Road and service to Cooper's Road subdivision.
  • One-way loop design is not conducive to ridership. Will likely fail to achieve ridership and performance targets.
    3B - Two-way route from Admirals Walk to Munro neighbourhood
  • Provides reasonable service to local market.
  • Oriented towards elderly and others not able to conveniently access regional routes.
  • Includes connection to 14 VGH / UVIC service on Craigflower Road and service to Cooper's Road subdivision.
  • Loss of service to Colville Road (1 person per trip).

    The performance of these two variants was assessed. In terms of ridership, the two proposals present the extremes of the service strategies examined. Option 3A, the one-way loop option is likely to have the lowest ridership of any examined, while Option 3B is likely to have the highest.

    Assessment of Service Options

    Option Buses Hours of Service Total Operating Cost Total Cost Total Annual Ridership Cost per Ride
    3A 1 community 14 $192,150 $211,650 58,066 $3.64
    3B 1 community 14 $192,150 $211,650 78,477 $2.70

    Western Exchange Extension

    Although there is very little evidence of transit demand between Western Exchange and the areas under consideration in this report, there have been many community demands for this linkage. Traffic volumes and information from dockyard regarding the location of employees indicates that there should be some linkage. Competing services provided by DND appear to meet most of the demand for transit to Dockyard. In addition, services using regional routes (50 Goldstream in combination with the 26 Dockyard) while longer geographically provide more frequency service and offer shorter travel times and greater levels of convenience.

    If a connection is found to be important to maintain, each trip from Admirals Walk to Western Exchange and back can be accomplished by reducing the number of trips to the neighbourhood accordingly. For example providing four return trips to Western Exchange would reduce the number of trips on either Option 3 variant by four trips.

    At current levels of demand, the provision of trips to Western Exchange would reduce overall performance. Should hourly service between Western Exchange and Dockyard be desired at some point in the future, an additional bus would be required.

    Western Exchange Extension Option

    western exchange extension option

    Next Steps

    This report is being circulated for community input. Transit staff continues to develop and assess these service options. Final recommendations will be put forward to the Victoria Regional Transit Commission as part of the service changes for September 2006 in the spring. Changes to transit service will be implemented in September.

    25 Colville Cedar Hill

    25 Colville Cedar Hill



    25 Maplewood Munro

    25 Maplewood Munro

     

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