Nearly 30 people stand waiting for a bus around 7:30 a.m. outside Colwood Park and Ride. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Stuffed buses make transit no solution to Colwood Crawl

Woman fuming over lack of a timely commute from West Shore, BC Transit says more buses coming

Sierra Hamblin is “beyond frustrated” with BC Transit.

Tuesday, the Colwood woman missed her bus to make it in time for work in downtown Victoria once again.

“It’s alright, my boss lets me stay late or I just take a shorter lunch,” she said with a sigh on a Wednesday morning.

A commuter for about two years, it takes her about an hour on most weekdays. She usually gets on at the Colwood Park and Ride after dropping off her son at a daycare in Metchosin.

Anytime between 7:15 and 7:30 a.m., she usually hops on the 50, 61, or 48 buses – but that depends on whether the bus is full or not.

Hamblin glances over at the packed 50 that pulled in, but she knows there’s no room as she’s at the end of a line of at least 20 to 30 people. Meanwhile, a half-full 61 double-decker passes by without any hesitation.

“It’s total frustration,” Hamblin said. “Sometimes the buses don’t even stop because other buses are loading and the traffic is so bad. I regularly have to apologize to my boss for being late again and again.”

READ MORE: B.C. Transit borrows buses from Interior to avoid trip cancellations in Greater Victoria

ALSO READ: B.C. Transit back in Sooke for more feedback

At this point, Hamblin said her hands are tied.

She used to start work at 8 a.m., but when she found out her son’s daycare only allowed drop off at 7 a.m. and later, she was able to push her start time to 8:30 a.m. instead.

“This could’ve been a nightmare, but my boss is very understanding and I’m so grateful,” Hamblin said.

Unfortunately, the problem doesn’t end after the morning.

She has to rush home to pick up her son by 5:30 p.m. or else it’s a dollar for every minute over. Luckily, she has family members who are able to pick up her son whenever she’s in a pinch.

Hamblin submitted a complaint to BC Transit back in 2018 but hasn’t seen any difference in rush hour service.

She believes an increase of double-decker buses and frequent service is the solution to her West Shore woes.

“BC Transit has seen a six per cent growth in ridership over the past year with a notable increase in the West Shore in particular,” said Kevin Shubert, general manager of Victoria Operations, BC Transit.

Shubert pointed to the arrival of 80 new buses that will be added to the transit system in 2020, eight of them being double-deckers. BC Transit clarified that the new double-deckers will be part of a rotating schedule for the 50 and 61 routes, but not the 48.

aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com


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