Ladysmith's first public transit system will be up and running on Tuesday and the town is already eager for a connection to Nanaimo.
The new B.C. Transit system consists of four local routes and one regional route connecting Ladysmith to Chemainus.
The plan has been to add a Nanaimo connection in three to five years, but the town doesn't want to wait.
Coun. Bill Drysdale said town officials will be "strong-arming" transit to get a connection to Nanaimo sooner than planned.
"It was on the 10-year plan and we asked transit to bump it up to the three-to-five-year plan," Drysdale said.
"Residents of Ladysmith need to get up to Vancouver Island University, to the airport and shopping and all that."
He added that council will keep pushing transit officials to get the connection sooner, if possible.
Mayor Rob Hutchins said he is excited to introduce transit to the town and looks forward to expanding it inter-regionally into Nanaimo.
"I think our first request to join B.C. Transit was in 2002," he said.
"This is basically 11 years in the making."
The B.C. Transit bus system will launch Tuesday, the 20th anniversary of the Cowichan Valley regional transit system.
B.C. Transit spokeswoman Meribeth Burton said there will be free bus rides opening day, and the same driver who drove the first Cowichan Valley bus 20 years ago will be coming back to drive the first bus in Ladysmith.
"That's how they launched the system in 1993," she said.
"We thought we'd go back to the future and do it again."
Free rides will be on Tuesday only and exclude the Cowichan Commuter.
Regular adult bus fares are $2 or $1.75 for seniors and children.
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