Transportation » An Integrated, Multi-modal Network

The CESC has identified transportation as a key initiative and a fundamental component of Experience the Gulf Islands.  The objective is to facilitate the movement of residents, visitors and goods on Islands and between the Southern Gulf Islands, Salt Spring Island, and Vancouver Island through multi-modal transportation options.

An integrated multi-modal transportation network on the SGI, including regional trails for pedestrians and cyclists, community trails, community bus service and inter-island passenger-only ferry service, will enable residents, visitors and goods to move easily on the individual islands and between the islands. Providing residents and visitors with improved access to goods, services and recreation and tourism locations will assist in growing the local economy while minimizing environmental concerns related to single occupancy vehicles.
Community Bus Service

Community bus service has been operating on Mayne Island and Saturna Islands for about 3 years. Pilot projects, moving to operating systems have been completed. The Mayne Island Community Bus was licensed August 2015 using a donated used bus and funded by private donations. The Mayne Island Bus Society volunteers developed and operate a non-conventional transit system which services the key needs identified by the community.  On Saturna Island the local bus is also in its third year of operation and it was acquired by and is operated by the Saturna Lions using volunteer drivers.  Due to Saturna's relatively small population, para-transit service (call/text/email to request service) has proven more effective than a fixed schedule.


The Hummingbird Pub on Galiano Island operates a bus to transport its customers between Montague Harbour and the pub. Pilot Community Bus Projects have been started on Pender and Galiano. In May the CRD board approved a proposal from SGI Director Dave Howe to invest $50,000 toward the establishment of community bus services on these Islands.

On Pender, a 21 seat, former BC Transit vehicle, equipped with a bike rack, seat belts, and a wheelchair lift has been purchased and Moving Around Pender (MAP) has obtained a Transportation license from the Passenger Transportation Branch to operate on Pender. The vehicle is being used to provide a scheduled service between Magic Lake, the Health Center, the Driftwood Center, the Community Hall and the BC Ferries Terminal on Fridays with a plan to increase the service to both Fridays and Saturdays in the Spring.

In January, 2018, the Mayne Island Bus Society acquired a newer and larger bus. Through a grant authorized by CRD, SGI Director David Howe, the Mayne Island Bus Society has purchased this 24 passenger bus. The Directors of the Bus Society thank Dynamic Specialty Vehicles Ltd. of Surrey BC for their exceptional service and their volunteer drivers who make this service possible.

Public Engagement

Initial public engagement occurred in the spring 2017 and input received at that time helped inform the development of the draft plan.  A second round of engagement was held between mid-July and early October to receive comments from the public, First Nations and other government agencies on the draft plan.  The CRD thanks all who contributed their thoughts and suggestions through this planning process.

Community Trails

Local community trails have been provided on all islands through initiatives of Parks and Recreation Commissions on each islands as well as local trail groups such as Galiano Trails Society and Moving Around Pender. The Commission trails are located on Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) road rights-of-way pursuant to a Letter of Agreement between MoTI and the Islands Trust. 

An innovative feature of the service is that the location of the bus can be tracked using a live tracker at . The fare is by donation at the present. On Galiano the Galiano Island Community Transportation Society (GICTS) is hoping to initiate its community bus pilot project in April with a one day per week service, to be ramped up for the summer.  Two used vehicles have been acquired for the project - an 18 passenger bus and a 7 passenger minivan. A community wide survey is taking place during March along with public meetings to gather response to proposed routes, schedules, and fares.  Significant challenges for the project include the need to raise sufficient operating funds, and recruit enough qualified drivers.


Using funding provided by the UBCM Strategic Priorities fund, the CRD has contracted with Richard Drdul to prepare a report outlining the regulatory, licensing and insurance requirements for community bus services operated by societies.He is also working with Galiano Island Community Transportation Society and Moving Around Pender to provide recommendations for their pilot projects. Click here for the final report.

Gulf Islands Regional Trails Plan


Purpose of the Project

The CRD is currently developing a plan for future regional trails on the Gulf Islands.  This plan identifies a conceptual route for a regional trail on each of Galiano, Mayne, North and South Pender, Salt Spring and Saturna Islands, and provides direction to guide implementation and trail development.

Next Steps

Between October and December 2017, all comments received will be reviewed and considered and the Gulf Islands Regional Trails Plan will be finalized for approval by the Board in the spring 2018.  For additional information about this project, visit the CRD website at:

The agreement outlines road standards and classification on park lands acquired through dedication by subdivision approvals and on undeveloped road allowances via a Licence of Occupation.  In addition, the trail groups have worked with landowners to provide trails across private lands under an agreement and with the group or society providing liability coverage.

Inter-island Passenger-Only Ferries

The Southern Gulf Islands are highly dependent on service provided by the B.C. Ferries. While the B.C. government scrutinizes the cost of service delivery and travellers baulk at the cost of ferry service, the islands themselves feel the negative impact of schedule changes and cost increases.

The Salish Sea Inter-Island Transportation Society provides oversight for the annual Tour des Isles event, during which, the Southern Gulf Islands are connected by small commercial foot passenger vessels. The three-day event welcomes thousands of passengers from Galiano, Mayne, Saturna, Pender and Salt Spring Islands with local water taxis providing service between CRD docks on each Island.  In some cases, local businesses or societies provide on-island transport to meet the boats.

In 2016, the CRD contracted KPFF Consulting Engineers to hold a workshop to discuss the regulatory, licensing and insurance requirements for an inter-island, passenger-only ferry service, as well as supporting infrastructure, operational models and financial implications. The workshop also provided an opportunity for existing water taxi providers to outline their services and discuss challenges. Participants scoped out the vision for a potential long term passenger ferry service as well as the parameters for a pilot project.  The results of the workshop are available here.

All rights reserved. 2020 Southern Gulf Island Economic Development Commission.