‘It’s been horrible’: bus commuters fed up with cancellations across Greater Victoria

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WatchFor yet another morning, hundreds of commuters were left stranded. Their bus trips? Cancelled. And as Kori Sidaway tells us, while BC Transit is looking to curb the problem, things may be stalled until the new year.

Waiting for the bus to bring you to work is how many in Greater Victoria spend their mornings.

But recently, the waits have been the worst many have ever seen.

“I’ve been taking the bus for about three years, and in the last six months it’s been horrible,” said commuter Coralynn Mailey.

The bus lanes are in, and ridership is up, but BC Transit is still having to cancel trips.

“We recognize that every time we have to cancel a trip it’s frustrating for customers,” said Jonathon Dycke with BC Transit.

“We know that customers expect us to be there when we say we’re going to be there and we work really hard to do that.”

Five trips in the Greater Victoria area were cancelled Thursday morning, and riders say it’s a running pattern.

They’re also seeing less double-deckers running on busy routes, forcing more buses to roll past during rush hour with no room.

“I’m consistently late for work and about all of us that take the double-decker 50 that’s supposed to come are about 5-15 minutes late for work every day,” said Mailey.

“I can’t get on, three will pass me and I won’t get onto it, and all the way from here to downtown is quite a hoof,” said new bus commuter Curtis Naples.

The reason behind the cancellations? BC Transit says that Victoria acts as the province’s bus graveyard: where aging big wheels from across B.C. come to die.

“It’s unfortunate for the riders in Greater Victoria, because these are buses that have not been here their whole life and show up at their end of life, and Victoria residents are seeing the end results of that, ” said Ben Williams, Unifor Local 333 B.C. President, which represents BC Tranit workers.

The average age of B.C.’s buses is 7.7 years. Here in Victoria? The buses are on average 12.3 years old.

And those older vehicles need more repairs, pulling many off the roads.

Back in July the federal government dedicated 10 new buses to Victoria by January.

Until then, commuters can likely expect more of the same.

But BC Transit says they’re working on some short term solutions.

“I can assure people that we are taking it seriously internally and we’re working on it as hard as we can with the resources we have,” said Dycke.

But when ridership relies on reliability, many frustrated bus riders say they’re making the switch, back behind their own wheels.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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