Cowichan bus route change to cost rider

Rick Lobb said changes to bus service along the old Lake Cowichan highway are both inconvenient and costly to him.

Lobb, who lives on Riverbottom Road, takes the bus to and from work, and had always caught the #7 at 6:35 p.m. from Duncan to get him home in the evening. The bus used to take a route with a number of stops to service the streets, like Riverbottom Road, branching off from Cowichan Lake Road.

But bus schedule changes have made that bus an express line that heads straight out to Lake Cowichan, bypassing the previous stops along the way.

There is a bus that leaves Duncan at 5:01 p.m., but Lobb said it’s not practical to expect people working a regular work day to use it. "That’s cutting me out of an hour’s worth of work," he explained.

That amounts to about $300 a month in lost revenue.

Further, Lobb said, the change means people from his area coming home on the commuter bus from Victoria or the Greyhound from Nanaimo are also out of luck.

The new express caters just to the Town of Lake Cowichan, he said and he would like Cowichan Valley Transit to reinstate the old service.

"At least everybody gets home," he said. The recent changes to the bus schedule and routes came after BC Transit and the Cowichan Valley Regional District held a number of open houses and hosted online surveys, said BC Transit spokesperson Meribeth Burton. A preview of the proposed changes was also offered over the past 12 months, she said.

Lobb said he didn’t know about the changes until this month, just before they went into effect, and immediately called transit and CVRD authorities.

"We are aware of the customer who feels he was better served before the changes," Burton said. "BC Transit and the CVRD will continue to monitor our customers’ responses to the new schedule, and as is common practice throughout the 130 B.C. communities we serve, if refinements are required, we will do our best make adjustments to ensure transit in the Cowichan Valley Regional District is the efficient and effective solution for our customers."

Lobb said that’s not good enough. "In the meantime people are going to be losing money, some people will probably lose work," he said.