Transit users in the Cowichan Valley will see several schedule and route changes taking effect on Oct. 3, including a new bus route taking them directly between Ladysmith and Duncan.
The new Route 36, Ladysmith-Duncan Express, is the result of ridership demand for faster and direct connections.
It will make three return trips daily, Monday through Friday, to enable commuting and shopping connections between the two communities, and two daily trips on Saturdays.
Also, four routes in Ladysmith will be combined into two routes for more efficient local service.
Route 31, Colonia, and 32, Forrest Field, will merge to become the new Route 31, Ladysmith-Alderwood, with new service to the Alderwood area; and Routes 34, Westdowne, and 35, Chemainus, will become new Route 34, Ladysmith-Chemainus, with service along Highway 1 and River Road, to and from Chemainus.
Route 33, Waterfront, is being discontinued due to low ridership, as is Sunday and statutory holiday service in Ladysmith.
Sunday and statutory holiday service is also being discontinued in Youbou and Honeymoon Bay due to low ridership.
However, there will be an added evening trip on Route 20, Youbou, Monday to Thursday, at 7:09 p.m., to be consistent with service levels on Route 21, Honeymoon Bay.
Trip times in the mornings are also changing on both routes to help address large gaps in trip frequency.
Fans of the Duncan Farmers’ Market will also be able to take the bus there from Mill Bay through Cowichan Bay on Saturday mornings as a new trip on Route 9, Mill Bay/Duncan, will enable people to reach the market by around 9:30 a.m.