Every day Kristy Fallon follows the same routine.
She wakes up, gets ready and drives from her home in Langford to her work in downtown Victoria. She parks in a stall in the Robbins parking lot at the corner of Store and Chatham streets, and walks 10 to 15 minutes to her office in Centennial Square. It’s something she’s done every day for a while.
But recently Fallon’s routine has changed. She still makes the daily commute from Langford to Victoria, but instead of parking in the lot, she now parks at the park and ride at the former Metro Toyota location near the corner of Douglas Street and Frances Avenue. Then she hops on a B.C. Transit bus and within a few minutes is dropped off just steps from her office.
“It’s super convenient,” Fallon said. “It’s actually faster for me, using the park and ride than it was for me using my parking spot and walking into the office.”
The park and ride is a service by the Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA), in partnership with Robbins Parking, Pattison Group, B.C. Transit and the City of Victoria, to help free up parking in the downtown core. Since it launched, 35 people have signed up for the program — filling up more than half of the 53 spaces.
Kerri Milton, executive director of the DVBA, admits she wasn’t sure if the idea would catch on since it’s the first program of its kind in the city. But spaces filled up much faster than anticipated.
“People are loving the location because of the frequency of the buses and the price point was a big hit, it’s affordable,” she said. “What we do know is there are 35 parkers who used to park downtown, in the parkades or in the surface parking lots, that now have their vehicles out of the parkades.”
Earlier this year, the business association looked at ways to relieve parking in the downtown core, as businesses and customers have expressed concern over lack of parking. In January, it released a number of action items, including producing a map of current parking structures, lots and street parking, and increasing awareness around the Modo CarShare program. A park and ride was also one of those action items.
Milton said there are plans to expand the service once the parking lot is at capacity, potentially at different locations to service people coming into downtown from other parts of the city.
The park and ride costs $100 per month, which includes a parking spot as well as a monthly bus pass. For more information visit downtownvictoria.ca/parking.