BC Transit riders in the Cowichan Valley can expect some changes to commuter routes between Duncan and Victoria starting Sept. 3.
Jim Wakeham, the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s senior manager of facilities and transit division, told the district’s committee of the whole on July 26 that adjustments will be made on the commuter routes to better meet the riders’ needs and expectations.
He said Route 66 (Duncan/Victoria) will re-allocate one early morning trip to Victoria to later in the morning, and one return evening trip to Duncan to earlier in the afternoon.
That means Route 66’s 5:55 a.m. run to Victoria, its second earliest after the 5:34 a.m. run, will be discontinued and will be replaced by a 9:23 a.m. run; and the 4:45 p.m. run from Victoria to Duncan, the second last one of the day before the 5:15 p.m. run, will be discontinued and replaced with a new run at 1:45 p.m.
Public engagement, ridership analysis, operating costs, maintaining service span, and connection opportunities to the Nanaimo-Cowichan Express bus factored into which runs were re-allocated.
“We’ve been getting quite a few inquiries from the public over the past few years asking why don’t we run service on that route during the day and also in the evenings,” Wakeham said.
“With the reduced commuter ridership associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and assumed increase in working from home arrangements for former commuters, as well as increased interest in inter-regional travel for non-commuting or discretionary trips, it’s been recommended that one early morning trip on Route 66 be reallocated to a later morning trip. This would provide an opportunity for riders to travel to Victoria during off-peak times during the week.”
Wakeham said that associated with the reallocation of an early morning trip, there was an opportunity to also adjust one evening return trip to earlier in the afternoon.
As well, Wakehan said Route 44, the Saturday bus service to Victoria, will be combined with Route 66, the Monday to Friday service to Victoria, and renamed the Cowichan–Victoria Express (CVX); and Route 99 (the Shawnigan Lake commuter to Victoria) will be renamed to Shawnigan Lake –Victoria Express (SVX).
“This will make it easier for our customers when they call in and when they try to follow our riders’ guide because we really have three different routes and these changes will make it easier for them to understand,” he said.
“The re-naming of both Route 66 and 99 will be consistent with the naming convention utilized for the NCX, and highlight that the service is an inter-regional service versus purely a service for commuters.