Change rail line to bus corridor
Re: Malahat alternatives
“The CVRD and BC Transit are celebrating 25 years of transit service in the Cowichan Valley”, (Citizen, Sept. 14).
What a great article. A celebration of a true success story. The article goes on to point out how in October of 2008, BC Transit introduced two new commuter routes connecting the Cowichan Valley with Victoria. After 11 years I am sure the need is still there.
On page A6 on the Opinion page there is an article about alternatives to the Malahat. According to the writer “It will not be cheap to get the rail corridor back up and running”.
Most definitely it will not be cheap if the plan is to use rail. Initial costs would be prohibitive to ordinary federal and provincial and municipal taxpayers. A whole new infrastructure would be required including the need to purchase expensive rails, expensive concrete ties, expensive locomotives, and expensive passenger rail cars. There would also be a need to set up an expensive infrastructure to maintain a railroad right of way and equipment. There would be a need to hire and train employees to maintain a railway right of way and operate the expensive railway equipment.
However, if the existing corridor could be upgraded and dedicated to BC Transit buses then more than half the expense has already been accounted for because BC Transit already has the equipment. BC Transit already has the infrastructure to maintain and repair their equipment. BC Transit already has trained employees to operate and maintain a fully functioning transit system. This has been proven successfully over the past 25 years. Additionally, the buses could then switch from the dedicated corridor to city streets alleviating time consuming transfers between buses and trains.
When you look at the economics between restoring the railway versus changing to a dedicated bus corridor, it seems like a no brainer.