Back in 2014, a rule went into effect reserving the curb lane in a few sections of Douglas Street for buses and bicycles during the morning and afternoon rush hours; the aim was to make things easier for transit drivers and keep the buses running on schedule. At the time, BC Transit CEO Manuel Achadinha said, “What we are trying to do is create a reliable corridor for people who choose to take transit so they can get from home to downtown and back home again.”
The fly in the ointment is that some drivers of private vehicles haven’t been heeding the rules — and so police will be turning up the heat to catch them, according to Victoria’s acting police chief Del Manak. “I have no problems with conducting enforcement because the signage is very adequate,” he said.
Cars are actually allowed in the bus lanes, but only when a right-hand turn is planned within the following block. This week, Victoria police are issuing warnings to bus lane scofflaws, and after that, an infraction will result in a $109 fine.
This initiative comes as plans are afoot to expand the Douglas Street bus lanes. During the busiest times, up to 88 buses per hour are traveling on Douglas, which makes it one of the most heavily used transit routes in Greater Victoria. A southbound lane from Tolmie to Hillside will be added by the City Of Victoria, and the Province Of BC is footing the bill for a northbound lane from Tolmie to Saanich.
As of 2017, there will be another change: in the spring, the bus lane rules will be in effect 24 hours per day, rather than just during rush hours.