Rail versus bus? It’s not about the type of vehicle, it’s about the frequency.
People choose cars because they’re in control and can leave when they want. If transit is every 15 minutes or every five to 10 minutes, this makes it more attractive. If they miss one vehicle, there will be another one along shortly. It makes transferring to another route easier. The No. 50 bus that operates between Langford and downtown Victoria is already very frequent.
Of course, there are other elements, such as giving transit priority. That’s why advocates like rail, because it’s on its own track and doesn’t have to share the road. But buses can be given priority — that’s been happening and is continuing to expand.
Light rail would only be successful if it were very frequent and close enough for thousands of people to walk, bike or bus to. One rail line running along an old, primarily freight, corridor is unlikely to meet the requirements. Plus, it’s very expensive.
I’ve lived in a city with light rail and it’s wonderful, but so is frequent bus service that’s given priority. Buses are the backbone of all transit systems. Rail is used when the volume of riders warrants the cost of it.
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