Southern Gulf Islands
Community Economic Sustainability Commission Initiatives



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

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 Friday Saturday this spring and to add more days in the Spring.  MAP is still looking for additional volunteer drivers who have class 4 licenses and will help train and support people through process of getting a license.  An innovative feature of the service is that the location of the bus can be tracked using a live tracker at http;// . 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.

January 2018 - Mayne Island Community Bus Update

The Mayne Island Bus Society is pleased to inform the community that we have 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 Director Howe for his support and Dynamic Specialty Vehicles Ltd. of Surrey BC for their exceptional service. Dynamic went beyond our expectations to ensure a safe and reliable vehicle for our community.

This acquisition will help with passenger demand such as the recent 50 Children visiting from various Island schools. Also during the Tour des Iles, Fall Fair and the Folk Festival, transportation demand is high. 

Many thanks to our volunteer drivers who make providing this service to the community possible;

Rod Cruickshank, Richard DeArmond, Pam Withers, David Rae, Rob Cleator, Allan Guy and thanks to our Secretary who keeps us in line, Colleen Ming.

We look forward to your support and ridership.

On behalf of the Mayne Island Bus Society, Ian Dow, Chair.

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.

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.


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.


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:


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 regarding road standards and classification, on park lands acquired through dedication through subdivision approvals, and on undeveloped road allowances through 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 Salish Sea Inter-Island Transportation Society provided oversight for the 2016 Tour des Isles event.  During the last weekend of June, the Southern Gulf Islands were once again connected by small commercial foot passenger vessels through the Tour des Isles. The 3-day event welcomed many (almost 2,000 passages) from Galiano, Mayne, Saturna, Pender and Salt Spring Island. Local water taxis provided the service between the local CRD docks on each of the islands.  In some cases local business or societies provided on-island transport which met the boats.

The next Tour des Iles is scheduled for June 23, 24 and 25, 2017.

Also with funding provided by the UBCM Strategic Priorities fund, the CRD contracted KPFF Consulting Engineers to hold a workshop to outline the regulatory, licensing and insurance requirements for inter-island passenger-only ferry service, and to provide an opportunity for existing water taxi provider to discuss their services.

A charrette/workshop held on Novmber 17 at the Mary Winspear Centre to discuss the vision and parameters for an inter-island passenger-only ferry serving the Southern Gulf Islands, Salt Spring Island and the Town of Sidney.

The workshop focused on the regulatory requirements, supporting insfrastructure, operational models and financial implications associated with providing passenger services.  Existing water taxi providers outlined their services and discussed the challenges of providing passenger-only ferry service.  As well the participants scoped out the vision of a potential long term passenger ferry service scenario as well as the parameters for a pilot project.  The results of the workshop are available here: click here

All rights reserved. 2015 Southern Gulf Island Economic Development Commission.