The major revamp includes new bus shelters, lighting, crosswalks, and a bike lane
This summer, the University of Victoria’s bus exchange is undergoing major renovations to improve the quality of transit for students and residents in the surrounding areas. With over 17 000 transit trips made to and from the university daily, the UVic exchange is the place where many students start and end the school day.
The UVic exchange, as it stands now, is filled with heavy duty equipment and construction workers that are set to finish renovations by Aug. 26, according to UVic. The renovations will include improved lighting, paving, and signage, six new bus shelters, as well as realigned crosswalks.
To fund the project, the federal government, the provincial government , UVic, and the Victoria Regional Transit Commission have invested a combined total of over $4.5 million.
Changes will be taking place at the bus stops that are located along Ring Road. Mike Wilson, director of campus planning and sustainability, says, “As part of this project, new covered bus shelters are also being installed around Ring Road. We expect these to be supplied and installed in mid-to-late July; however, their in-use date will likely be sometime in August.”
In addition to the bus exchange renovations, UVic has also made plans to improve the experiences of those who bike to campus. Along with more storage facilities for people to park their bikes, UVic says that a bike lane is also being installed along Finnerty Road, expected to be ready for use around Aug. 15.
“As a former UVic student, I know first-hand the importance of having a network of efficient transit routes to and from the university,” said Rob Fleming, the minister of transportation and infrastructure, in the media release. “This new exchange will improve service and accessibility and ensure students have affordable, convenient, low-carbon transportation options.”
One change that affects students is the realignment of the crosswalks in the UVic exchange. In the past, the exchange’s diagonal crosswalk has made it tempting for students to simply jaywalk across the area to get to their destination on time. UVic is renovating the pedestrian crosswalk with students like these in mind, stating that the improvements will “improve sight lines for bus operators and pedestrians and reduce crossing times.”
Another renovation that will benefit students is the improved lighting at the bus stops along Ring Road. While the lighting at the UVic exchange already provides students with a sense of security, this cannot be said for the rest of the bus stops along Ring Road. The lack of lighting at these bus stops can leave students feeling unsafe on their journey home.
These improvements to the UVic exchange are expected to improve the student experience in transit at UVic, however, there are still changes that students would like to see happening in Victoria transit in the future — for example, having more frequent and consistent buses. However, the bus driver shortage on the Island could affect these requests.
The shortage, connected to driver illness and high living cost in Victoria among other issues, may cause some routes to have reduced service in the fall. The main routes to and from campus are expected to stay at the same service levels as they were at last year.
UVic says the renovations to the bus exchange are a step in the right direction in terms of their goal of encouraging sustainable transit to and from campus.
“These upgrades support UVic’s goals around sustainability and active transportation infrastructure, and we are looking forward to having the refreshed exchange open for next September,” said Wilson.