For 50 years BC Transit’s route 11 provided a link to Victoria for those living in the Gorge-Tillicum area.
But not anymore.
“We’re disappointed by this. This is a reduction in service for our community,” says Gorge Tillicum Community Association member Mauricio Curbelo.
Now a 3.5 km section of the route is gone, something residents thought would only be a temporary chance during construction on Gorge Road West.
Now without that service resuming, passengers must take the longer 25 route, which offers more limited service and takes longer.
“When the construction finished we assumed that the new inferior service that comes every hour would go away and we’d get the 15 minute route back, but now that the construction is finished they’ve realized that we’re keeping the 25.”
It has also rendered the new bus shelters along Gorge Road West almost useless, since they are now used as drop off spots.
“There’s no one using those stops. We live directly across from the bus stop you were originally filming and there’s been no one there for two and a half months,” says Gorge resident Gordon Robbins.
Residents also say that consultation regarding the changes was non-existent.
“Never happened. I had to phone for anything with respect to the project in general, I had to phone Saanich to request meetings,” says Russell.
“With respect to the bus itself that never happened. I think that’s been a continuing story with what the residents have experienced here.”
In a statement BC Transit says that that they are “actively engaging with community members in the Gorge-Tillicum area to address some of the concerns related to the recent routing changes.”
But residents say they already know what they want without the community engagement.
“They didn’t have a consultation to take away our service, so we don’t feel we should be forced to go through a consultation in order to get it back,” says Curbelo.
“They should restore the service using the same quick internal process that they used to take it away.”
As for the effect on those who use the service?
“Well I won’t be taking the bus anymore, it’s not convenient. It was the best service we had before,” says one resident.
“I’m not even sure how we get into town taking the bus. So leaving my car at home , I don’t think I would even do it,” says Russell.
It’s a busing battle in which community members show no sign of backing down.