VICTORIA -- Getting from A to B on transit could become a lot faster in the Capital Region if all goes according to plan.

BC Transit has been studying the idea of a “Rapid-Bus” system that could see buses along certain routes every nine minutes.

The service would operate on major routes from downtown Victoria to the West Shore, The University of Victoria and the Saanich Peninsula.

The idea is to get people to where they need to go quicker and with more frequency. The service would be more reliable and faster than what riders are experiencing now, according to planners.

BC Transit says the project is building on the positive momentum of the new bus lanes along Douglas Street and Highway 1.

“I think we are just at a point with Victoria’s regional transit system where we need to scale up; we need to go to the next level because there is increasing demand for mobility.” says Matthew Boyd, corporate and strategic planning director at BC Transit.

“We want to make sure that we are adapting to accommodate that increased growth with moving people as efficiently and effectively as possible.“

Planning for the Rapid-Bus system began earlier in the spring with research and analysis. Summer sees the project move into plan development and targeted engagement. In the fall, the final plan development should be finished, along with the cost for the project.

Implementation and timeline will be determined after planning and reviews are completed and approved.

The plan may include more designated bus lanes in order for the project to be successful.

“We would be looking at reducing the number of stops along corridors; it would be a limited-stop service, so it would be faster from a customer perspective,” says Boyd.

“We’d also be looking at identifying those bus stops that are key stations and really rebranding the bus stops to feel more like stations with regards to connectivity from a multi-modal perspective.”

BC Transit is still identifying the corridors for Rapid-Bus. Once those have been determined, the transit authority will start looking at the effects of such as service on the overall transit network. When implementation begins, there will be additional public engagement with regard to introduction of the Rapid-Bus and any changes that might happen to the existing network.

Over the past five years, ridership has grown by 23 per cent in the Capital Region and 30 per cent between the West Shore and downtown.

“We are keen to get this moving,” says Boyd. “Transit plays a key part of the solution to some of the big challenges this region is facing, such as congestion and affordability and climate change.”