The Regional District of Nanaimo board has approved a transit service expansion plan and the big winners are Cassidy residents.

There are adjustments to route seven, splitting up service to Cinnabar and Cedar, added hours on route 40, the VIU Express, a restructuring of route 30 to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and the creation of two additional routes.

Route eight will take riders from Cedar to Vancouver Island University and the Director of Transit and Emergency Services with the RDN Daniel Pierce takes us through the new service in Cassidy and the Nanaimo Airport.

“It’s quite exciting news because not only are we creating new routes, but we’re making adjustments that the public has been requesting to see for a number of years and also servicing a new area, a section of our area that doesn’t receive transit service in Cassidy and the Nanaimo Airport,” said Pierce.

Pierce said route seven, which provides service to Cinnabar and Cedar will be broken up.

“What we’re doing in January 2020 is breaking those apart and creating two separate routes,” said Pierce. “Route seven will be just in Cinnabar and route eight will be just in Cedar and I think that’s a huge enhancement, so you don’t have to be sitting on the bus quite as long.”

Route eight will provide service from Cedar to Vancouver Island University and another new route, route 78, will provide service to Cassidy and the Nanaimo Airport.

The plan addresses ridership growth and involves the addition of 5,900 conventional transit hours and 1,700 custom HandyDart transit hours, meaning these are the hours the buses are operating.

Currently, annual BC transit hours are at 128,000.

The plan includes two new buses and the stops haven’t been decided, as of yet.

The project costs an estimated $470,000 dollars and starts in January.