(Disclaimer: While still providing a good introduction to transit in Victoria, many changes to schedules, routes and bus fleets have been made since this page was written. For more up-to-date information on routes and schedules, please see the BC Transit Victoria web site.)
Victoria, situated at the southern tip of Vancouver Island, is one of the oldest cities in Western Canada. Incorporated in 1862, it became the capital of British Columbia when the province joined Canada in 1871. Today it is the second largest city in BC, with a regional population of 310 000. The city’s economic base is anchored by the Provincial civil service and the Navy base at Esquimalt. Tourism and the service industry are also major contributors to the economy, as is health care; Victoria is a major retirement centre, and local hospitals provide many specialised services for outlying regions of B.C.
Because of its island location, transportation has always been a major issue in Victoria, from the early promise of a railway to the mainland which brought B.C. into confederation (still unfulfilled) to today’s reality of dealing with ferries, Catamarans, planes and helicopters as well as buses in the course of commuting and doing business in the region. Gulf Island residents are totally dependent on BC Ferries for daily commuting off-island.
520 Gorge Road East
382-6161 transit information (24 hours/day)
BC Transit Victoria world wide web site (with on-line schedules)
BC Transit provides bus service to Victoria, Saanich, Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Central Saanich, Sidney, North Saanich, Swartz Bay ferry terminal, View Royal, Colwood, Langford, Metchosin, and Sooke.
1112 Fort Street
656-0757 automated information line (24 hours/day)
BC Ferries provides car and passenger service to Saltspring, Pender, Mayne, Galiano, and Saturna Islands, as well as to Tsawassen (on the mainland, 40 km south of Vancouver).
Island Coach Lines Depot
700 Douglas Street
385-4411 information and reservations for roadside pickup
Island Coach Lines provides commuter bus service for the Malahat and the neighbouring Cowichan Valley.
At present, there is no year round transit service in Shirley, Jordan River, or Port Renfrew–the areas west of Sooke.
Maps and Timetables
Schedules for all BC Transit routes are in the Rider’s Guide, which is available on the buses, at local libraries, and from BC Transit offices. The Buzzer (Victoria Edition) is published monthly and contains articles on the system, schedule changes, and events in Victoria.
“Explore By Bus”, a guide to local sights accessible by transit, is distributed by a local brochure firm.
Coach Lines schedules are available from any Coach Lines bus.
BC Transit routes and points of interest
All routes except 7 Foul Bay, 26 Crosstown, 29 UVic, 35 Ridge, 39 UVic/Royal Oak, 51 Canwest Mall/UVic, some 52 Wishart and 53 Glen Lake trips, 54 Metchosin, 57 Humpback, some 61 Sooke trips, 74 West Saanich, and 78 North Saanich, route directly to downtown Victoria.
Downtown points of interest include: Old Town shopping district, Chinatown, Eaton’s Centre Mall, Antique Row, Memorial Arena, Royal Theatre, McPherson Playhouse, Empress Hotel, Inner Harbour.
route | route |frequency of service | areas served and number| name | am | mid | pm | eve | sat | sun | points of interest ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1 Richardson 20 30 20 40 30-40 20-40 South Oak Bay. 1 Willows 20 30 20 -- 30-40 -- Oak Bay Village **night service via 11 uplands** Willows Beach 2 Oak Bay 20 30 20 40 30 20-40 Oak Bay Village Oak Bay Marina 2 Gonzales 20 30 20 40 30 20-40 South Oak Bay Ross Bay Cemetery 4 Mount Tolmie 15 20 15 40 20 40 UVic, Camosun College (Landsdowne Campus) Mount Tolmie Lookout Hillside Mall 5 Beacon Hill 15 15 15 -- 15 25 James Bay, Provincial **night service via 30/31** Legislature, Emily Carr House, Beacon Hill Park, Hwy 1 mile zero at Dallas Road cliffs. 5 S. Fairfield 15 15 15 -- 15 25 Fairfield residential area, **night service via 2 Gonzales** Clover Point, Fort St.- "Antique row" 6 Quadra 7 15 7 30 15 20 Crystal Pool, Lake Hill, High Quadra, Broadmead, Royal Oak, Commonwealth Pool 7 Foul Bay 30 60 30 -- -- -- Direct service Oak Bay to UVic 10 Gorge 10 15 10 30-40 20 30 Gorge Hospital,Tillicum Mall 10 Haultain 10 15 10 30-40 20 30 Fernwood Neighbourhood, Hillside Mall 11 Uplands 15 20 15 30-40 20 40 Jubilee Hospital, UVic 14 University 10 12 10 30-40 15 20 Jubliee Hospital, Camosun College Landsdowne, UVic 14 Craigflower 10 12 10 30-40 15 20 Vic West, View Royal, Vic General Hospital 20 Cook 15 20 15 40 20 40 Maplewood and Cedar Hill 21 Interurban 20 30 20 -- 60 -- Tillicum Mall, Camuson Coll- **night service via 22 Burnside** ege Interurban Campus 22 Burnside 20 30 20 60 60 60 Tillicum Mall, Strawberry Vale 23 Esquimalt 8 10 8 20-40 14 20 Vic West, Naval Base 24 Colville 50 50 50 40 50 40 Naden, Graving Dock, Naval Base 25 Munro 50 50 50 d 50 d Songhees, Work Point, Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Naval Base 26 Crosstown 15 15 15 30 30 30 UVic, Gordon Head, Town and Country Mall, Tillicum Mall, Gorge Kinsmen Park, Naval Base 27 Gordon Head 12 24 12 30 30 30 Hillside Mall, University ** the 27 and 28 services provide Heights Mall, Gordon Head service along Shelbourne St** Rec Centre 28 Majestic 12 24 12 30 30 30 Hillside Mall, University Heights Mall, Mount Douglas Park 29 UVic 3 trips AM only Gordon Head-UVic direct 30/31 Carey/ 4-10 15 7-10 20 15 18 Mayfair Mall, Town and Glanford ** 30/31 provides combined Country Mall, Royal Oak, on Douglas St.** Commonwealth Pool 30/31 James 4-10 15 7-10 20 15 18 West James Bay, Parliament Bay Bldgs, Fisherman's Wharf, Ogden point, Seattle Ferry 32 Cordova Bay 20 30 15 30 30 Broadmead, Mattick's Farm **night service every 60 via 75 Central Saanich** 35 Ridge 3tr. 2tr. Cordova Ridge 39 UVic 4 trips am Royal Oak to UVic 39 Royal Oak 4 trips PM UVic to Royal Oak 50 Goldstream 15 30 10-15 50 20-30 50 Western Exchange, Fort Rodd Hill, CanWest Mall, Langford 51 UVic 2 tr.AM Direct CanWest-UVic 51 CanWest Mall 2 tr.PM Direct UVic-CanWest 52 Wishart 30 60 15 50 60 50 South Colwood, Royal Roads, Esquimalt Lagoon 53 Glen Lake 20 60 20 -- 60 -- Luxton 54 Metchosin 8 trips weekdays,6 saturdays Happy Valley,Pearson College 57 Humpback 10 trips weekdays,8 Saturdays Western Speedway, Goldstream Park 61 Sooke 20 90 20 3 tr. 100 6tr. Sooke Potholes 70 Pat Bay Hwy20 30 15 60 30 60 Sidney, Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal, Anacortes Ferry **While there is no direct service to Victoria International Airport passenger terminal, the 70 bus comes within a mile of it** 72 Sidney 2 tr 2 tr Direct Sidney-Downtown 75 Central Saanich 20 60 30 60 60 60 Butchart Gardens, Brentwood Bay, Saanichton Fairgrounds 78 North Saanich 2 tr. 2 tr. Land's End Road
BC Transit service is divided into three zones–the core area, the Western Communities (Colwood, Langford, Metchosin, Sooke), and Saanich Peninsula (Central Saanich, North Saanich, Sidney, Swartz Bay).
Cash payment is by exact change only. Transfers are for one way travel only, and there is no layover privilege – you must take the first connecting bus.
BC Transit sells monthly bus passes and books of ten prepaid tickets through an extensive network of authorised outlets. UVic and Camosun College students can purchase their passes at a reduced rate through their schools.
Yearly passes are available to the handicapped at a greatly reduced rate through the Ministry of Social Services and Housing, which administers welfare benefits and various social programs in British Columbia.
Fares listed below are those in effect as of July 1, 1997. Official fare information.
Cash Fares One Zone Two Zone Adult $1.75 $2.50 Student/child/senior $1.10 $1.75 Tickets (sheet of ten) One Zone Two Zone Adult $15.00 $22.50 Student/child/senior $10.00 $15.00 Monthly Passes: All passes good for multi zone travel Adult $50.00 Student/child/senior $32.00 Scratch & Ride Day Pass All passes good for multi zone travel Adult $5.50 Student/Child/Senior $4.00 Student rate applies to high school students with valid Go card issued by school Seniors rate applies to persons over 65 with BC Pharmacare card as ID
Low floor buses began to be introduced to the system in 1992 – the first system in North America to use 40′ low floor buses. The Accessible fleet has grown to 57 vehicles as of September 1995. Dedicated accessible service for the handicapped is available via the Handy-Dart service, which is operated under contract by Farwest Handy-Dart Services.
Currently low-floor buses operate regular accessible service on the 2, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 14, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 30, 31, 32, 50, and 70 routes, with some accessible service on the most other routes. The rider’s guide shows clearly which runs are served by low-floors.
Currently 176 vehicles are in active service, with 20 serviceable vehicles in storage. These consist of:
Active: 57 1992-95 NFI D 40 LF 8 1991 Orion Vs 36 1989-90 MCI Classics 7 1982 GMC TDH 5307N 28 1980 GMC TDH 5307N 29 1974 GMC T6H 5308N 2 1965 GMC TDH 4519, rebuilt to TDH 4523N standard 2 1965 GMC TDH 4519 2 1968 GMC TDH 4523 2 1972 GMC TDH 4523N 3 1976 GMC TDH 4523N Inactive: 3 1963 GMC TDH 4519 1 1964 GMC TDH 4519 5 1965 GMC TDH 4519 6 1968 GMC TDH 4523 4 1970 GMC TDH 4523 1 1974 GMC T6H 5308
Note: one Victoria streetcar survives and was restored by the BC Provincial Museum in the early 1970s. Visitors to Expo’86 who visited the Transportation Museum in New Westminster will remember #400, a 1924 Birney single truck (known to locals as a “Matchbox”). The museum retains ownership of this unit, which is currently in operation on a short track in Nelson, BC.
If you would like a detailed roster you can contact Les Broughton through our T2000 BC email address on the main page.
Maintenance and engineering
BC Transit continues to have one of the best maintenance programs in the transit industry, which pays dividends in long vehicle lives and high reliability. Despite the fact that nearly half the fleet is between 15 and 30 years old, the Victoria system successfully completes 99.93% of all trips, according to 1994 figures.
This year’s projects have included:
- completion of driver’s compartment retrofits (Recaro seat, tilt/power steering) on balance of T6H 5308Ns–this means that all 40′ units in the fleet, plus the two rebuilt TDH 4519s have the compartment.
- refurbishment of 7 TDH 4519/4523s for continuing duty as trippers
- seating upgrades for the 1974-82 GM units, as well as the 1989 and 1990 Classics. Diagonally faced seats replace the traditional benches behind the driver, while the TDH 5307Ns get side facing seating in the rear of the bus to increase standing room. The maintenance crew devised ways to reuse the original frames of the forward facing seats, significantly reducing costs on this project. The new seats are well padded vinyl covered semi-bucket, and much more comfortable, especially compared to the hard buckets used in the 1982 vehicles.
- addition of second wheelchair spot in 1992 Low Floors
- debugging and deployment of 17 New Flyer low floor buses. These units were delayed getting on the road while transit crews worked out problems with the redesigned electrical system, Victoria continues to work closely with New Flyer on improving this product.
The long awaited new UVic exchange finally opened this year, which allows all routes serving the school to use the loop for the first time in years.
The Garbally Road garage continues to be improved to accommodate the increasing number of active coaches. Meanwhile, plans are underway to open a satellite garage to handle the ever increasing fleet, expected to number 250 vehicles by 2005.
Fall 1995 Service Expansion
Unlike many other transit systems, Victoria has increased service every year since 1988. This year is no exception, with the addition of the 39 UVic/Royal Oak, and a return to all day service on the 7 Foul Bay, as well as additional peak service on many routes, and additional mid-day runs on the 26 route.
Funding of system
The system currently carries approximately 17 million riders per year, at a cost (in 1993) of $2.13 per ride. Farebox revenue recovers 50% of costs; the balance is covered by Provincial and local governments, as well as a gasoline tax and through a transit levy collected through BC Hydro’s billing system.
New equipment and other improvement are financed through borrowing which must be covered through the operating budget.
Five of the largest southern Gulf Islands – Saltspring, Pender, Mayne, Galiano, and Saturna – which fall within the Capital Region, are served by BC Ferries. Service to Saltspring is every 90 minutes, while the schedule for the other islands varies according to day of week and time of year. These services are vital for commuters and students who must travel to Victoria or inter island on a daily basis.
Island Coach Lines
Island Coach Lines is a division of Gray Line of Victoria, which is owned by Laidlaw Ltd. ICL operates intercity passenger and freight service between Victoria and Port Hardy at the north end of Vancouver Island, and to Port Alberni and Tofino on the west coast.Les Broughton