‘On request’ service brings transit to rural Vancouver Island communities

New bus service for Union Bay and Merville, near Courtenay, allows off-route pick up

New buses serving the communities of Union Bay and Merville in the Courtney-Comox area of Vancouver Island will allow riders to request pick-up up to 1.5 kilometres off the route.

A new bus service in two small Vancouver Island communities will offer on-demand service that include off-route pickup.

The B.C. Transit service to the Comox Valley communities of Merville and Union Bay are intended to improve access in rural areas.

Vince Van Tongeren, the policy and sustainability analyst for the Comox Valley Regional District, said people can call a day ahead and ask for a pick-up at the end of their driveway.

“That could be somebody that has mobility issues, or somebody that doesn’t feel safe walking to the fixed route from their house,” Van Tongeren said.

The pick-up service is limited to locations within 1.5-kilometre of the regular route.

Gives more transport options to people with disabilities

Jane Dyson, the executive director of Disability Alliance B.C., said people with disabilities in rural areas often have limited transportation options.

“Accessible public transportation is so important for independence and dignity,” Dyson said. “So this is a great service.”

A B.C. Transit spokesperson said on-demand service has been successful in other B.C. locations.

The Comox Valley Regional District will host two workshops in February to explain how to use the new service.

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