Tuesday, April 20, 2010

By Erin Cardone - Saanich News

B.C. Transit is looking at ways to make buses more effective and less imposing on Greater Victoria’s tight streets and quiet neighbourhoods.

Although the Vicinity bus, which made a pit stop in the city on April 16, won’t be tested in this region, B.C. Transit president and CEO Manuel Achadinha said they could appear on local streets soon.

“In terms of the flexibility, it’s absolutely amazing,” he said.

The Vicinity is 8.4 metres long, compared to standard buses which are 12. Meanwhile B.C. Transit’s community buses, at seven metres, seat 24 and don’t allow standing passengers. Vicinity seats 23 with standing room for 16 more. It’s narrower than a full-size bus and corners far tighter.

If B.C. Transit invests in these smaller buses, the pricetag would be $250,000 each. Aldergrove-based Grande West imported the prototype Vicinity bus from China to test it in B.C., said company spokesperson Woody Hayes.

Should B.C. Transit decide to buy a fleet of the Vicinity buses, they likely wouldn’t arrive for at least 15 months, Achadinha said.