A City of Whitehorse transit bus at Yukon College. The city is trialling a dedicated bus lane on Lewes Boulevard to get buses out of Riverdale on time, an initiative which transit manager Cheri Malo says is “definitely working.” (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)

Whitehorse dedicated bus lane trial ‘going great,’ transit official says

The city is trialling a dedicated bus lane on Lewes Boulevard between Alsek and Hospital Roads

Buses have been running on time in and out of Whitehorse’s Riverdale neighbourhood as the city trials a dedicated bus lane, says city transit manager Cheri Malo.

Speaking about the temporary lane along the north side of Lewes Boulevard between Alsek Road and Hospital Road on Sept. 16, Malo said buses are running as scheduled even through peak traffic periods.

“It’s definitely working,” she said. “It’s going great.”

The city installed the bus lane as a six-week initiative aimed at ensuring buses arrive on time with the improvements potentially convincing more people to take the bus in the future.

At times during busy periods in the morning buses have been up to 17 minutes late coming out of Riverdale.

After the trial, officials will look at the results — ridership, traffic impacts and so on. If deemed successful, the city will explore how a permanent lane could be added and the costs associated with that. It could then ultimately be determined through the city’s budget process.

While there’s still another four weeks for residents to let the city know their thoughts on the bus lane, so far the feedback the city has received positive feedback.

A feedback survey available through the city’s website had received 12 responses as of Sept. 17. Through that officials have so far been told by both passengers and individual vehicle drivers that some are pleasantly surprised traffic keeps moving; it’s nice to be on time for work; the morning rush hour out of Riverdale has improved; and it’s easy to tell during the day that the bus lane helps.

The survey will be available throughout the six-week period the bus lane is in effect.

Transit drivers, Malo said, have said they’re pleased to be on schedule and not holding up traffic or other buses. Bus passengers also seem happier.

Another sign the bus lane is working well — there haven’t been calls with complaints about it coming in to the transit office, Malo said.

This marks the second time the city has piloted a bus lane along Lewes Boulevard. The first initiative saw the lane established along a longer stretch of Lewes Boulevard from Grey Mountain Primary School to Hospital Road for just a one-week period with pylons used to mark the lane. This time around the lane is shorter with lane painting in place to mark it.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

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