An alternative for the Island corridor
The population on Vancouver Island is too low to support an island railway. The current transportation options on the island are a jumble of uncoordinated small enterprises.
However, we do have an incredibly valuable transportation corridor available to us. This corridor should be highly valued.
We need a cohesive coordinated system to bring us into the realities of the next few decades and beyond. The tracks and ties should be removed. The roadbed should then be paved for one lane to accommodate highway speed electric powered buses.
Frequent pull outs would allow buses to pass each other. As the morning southbound migration proceeds from Courtenay and all stops enroute, more buses could be added and schedules increased as more people join the buses.
A compass card system (such as in Vancouver) would simplify this walk on/walk off ticketing system with no reservations or ticket offices required.
Upon arrival in Victoria, many buses would be inactive for a few hours. They could join the Victoria transit system, run connecting trips to Schwarz Bay ferries, or other purposes. They could also be recharged while waiting to go north.
This system would connect a large number of the communities of the Island with hubs like Nanaimo and Victoria.
Simple connections or shuttles will also connect to Horseshoe Bay ferries.
A toll on all non-commercial traffic on the Malahat would help finance this endeavor, and lessen the traffic bottlenecks that we endure here.
In addition, car rental depots should be incorporated into the major terminals of the B.C. ferries. They could be small electric vehicles, ideal for a quick visit to the city or airport (YVR).
Additionally, the corridor could include an adjoining trail for hikers/bikers. Spain has the 800 km El Camino walk. Masses of hikers from all over the world do this pilgrimage every year. Why don’t we develop a 300 km Vancouver Island Camino. If we build it, they will come.
As in Spain, budget hostels could be built every 20 to 25 km along the route. Hiker/biker campsites could be an alternative option. A spectacular two week walk along here would draw world attention as does the Milford Track in New Zealand, the West Highland Way in Scotland, the Chilkoot Trail in Alaska/B.C. along with the Camino and a myriad of others. Our trail is just sitting there, almost ready to go.
Our local citizenry would also populate the trail year round.
2050 is coming. Let’s get ready now with winning projects.
Can you imagine leaving your home somewhere along the corridor, riding quickly to Victoria, then to Schwarz Bay and YVR, before jetting off somewhere — all on comfortable state-of-the-art buses while you sip your latte and charge your iPad?
Or, can you imagine a multi-day hike along the corridor with your kids in tow.
I can. This is win-win-win. If you let your mind wander, it will lead to wonder.
Day tours from Victoria cruise ships could be used to show off our Island.