Transit network to incorporate Ladysmith starting in the fall

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Ladysmith will be joining the Cowichan Valley Regional Transit System in the fall.

The B.C. government, the Town of Ladysmith and the Cowichan Valley Regional District announced Monday Ladysmith will be coming on board with B.C. Transit services replacing the existing trolley system with two 20-passenger community buses expected to provide 3,000 service hours per year.

Another 1,100 annual service hours will be featured with Ladysmith connecting to Chemainus and the rest of the Cowichan Valley Regional Transit System.

"Ladysmith is the largest community in B.C. yet to be serviced by B.C. Transit,'' noted Ladysmith Mayor and CVRD board chair Rob Hutchins in a news release. "This is an opportunity to provide Ladysmith residents with fully-accessible vehicles and transit connections to communities south. We look forward to future partnerships with the Nanaimo Regional District to establish inter-regional transit service to the north.

Parksville-Qualicum MLA Ron Cantelon added Ladysmith residents will find it easier than ever to connect to work, school and recreational activities through the new service.

Ladysmith won't be ditching its connection to the past. The trolley service will still play a role in community celebrations like the Festival of Lights.

CVRD Transit Commitee Chair Ian Morrison noted the expansion further supports the CVRD's Transit Future Plan vision of providing cost-effective, safe and convenient transit services to people.

The arrival of B.C. Transit in Ladysmith follows a comprehensive public consultation process to develop a 25-year Transit Future Plan for the region.

Ridership in the Cowichan Valley grew by 13.8 per cent in 2011-12 from the previous year. The Cowichan Valley Commuter to Victoria experienced an incredible growth in ridership, up 29.2 in 2011-12 compared to the previous year.

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