Oct. 16, 2020

No free bus rides to the polls in Nanaimo on election day

Many communities are getting free bus service on election day, but not in Nanaimo. Some days you wonder whether the left hand knows what the right hand is doing. 

Transit bus and handyDART services are offered in Victoria, Comox Valley, Port Alberni and the Cowichan Valley on election day. Free rides are also available in numerous other regional districts throughout the province. 

I asked Nanaimo Regional District’s transit department and could not get an answer other than “we didn’t have any direction on this.”  

RDN chairman Ian Thorpe said he was in the dark, it was the first he had heard of it, and it was too late now because the next board meeting to approve the free buses is not until after the election. 

I called BC Transit media office on Thursday and got an answer late Friday saying decisions about free fare days are made by local governments – they set fares and keep revenue from the fare box to help offset their costs of running the transit system.  

“Recognizing there are BC Transit partners that have decided to provide free service on election day (including the Comox Valley Transit System and Cowichan Valley Regional Transit System), there are also a number of systems that are not providing free service on election day, including the Regional District of Nanaimo Transit System and Campbell River Transit System,” the email states. 

We still don’t know why. Col. Klink and Sgt. Schulz of Hogan's Heroes come to mind.