(Left to right: Minister of Education and MLA Victoria Swan Lake Rob Fleming, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, Victoria Regional Transit Commission Chair Susan Brice, former City of Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena, and BC Transit President and CEO Manuel Achadinha)

The Province of BC, the Victoria Regional Transit Commission, the City of Victoria, and BC Transit are all working together to make your morning (and evening) commute faster, and less painful.

As of today, construction on the southbound Douglas Street bus priority lanes have begun. The lanes will reach from Tolmie Avenue to Hillside Avenue, and once complete, run northbound and southbound from Fisgard Avenue to Tolmie Avenue.

Funded by the Province of BC and the Victoria Regional Transit Commission, the initiative is an attempt to de-congest the busy Douglas Street corridor by encouraging more people to use greener travel methods like taking the bus or biking.

The specifics

The construction is expected to be completed by Fall 2018, and will include concrete and asphalt paving, sidewalk and boulevard restoration, tree and vegetation replacement, new line painting, and new signal infrastructure.

They’re meant to be used by BC Transit and private buses, as well as cyclists. Other vehicles are only allowed to be in these lanes if they’re making a right hand turn by the end of the block. There is a $109 fine for being in a priority bus lane if you’re not supposed to be.

As of right now, the priority lanes are operational from 6 AM to 9 AM southbound and 3 PM to 6 PM northbound – but once the construction is complete, they’ll both be fully functional 24 hours a day.

“This is the first step towards a rapid transit system that connects the downtown to the entire region,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

“A transformational bus rapid transit system will give residents and visitors an option for fast, direct transportation in and out of the downtown, so they can spend less time and money stuck in traffic and more of their day doing what they love.”