A new bus route was launched Tuesday to serve the Scia’new (Beecher Bay) First Nation in what Chief Russ Chipps said will be a “game-changer” for his community.
The 64 East Sooke/Beecher Bay/Langford will run weekdays between East Sooke and the Langford Exchange via Beecher Bay, providing an important link between the First Nation and Victoria.
Chipps said a lot of work has gone into establishing the bus service.
“We are very excited that it is going to be a reality,” he said.
He thanked neighbouring West Shore jurisdictions, the Capital Regional District, B.C. Transit and the provincial government for supporting the effort.
Victoria Regional Transit Commission chairwoman Susan Brice said the route is an important part of “connectivity” within the region.
“After extensive planning and engagement with local governments, stakeholders and Indigenous groups it’s great to see this new route in service.”
B.C. Transit chief executive Erinn Pinkerton said that while there is still work to be done to support Indigenous communities, “this collaboration removes the barrier of access and will help the community prosper.”
The new route comes as a number of other service changes were announced for the capital region:
• 1 South Oak Bay/Downtown and 22 Vic General/Hillside Centre have minor routing changes due to City of Victoria work on its cycling network.
• 2 James Bay/South Oak Bay/Willows has been divided into two routes — 2 South Oak Bay/James Bay and 5 Willows/James Bay. The routes share the same corridor between James Bay and Oak Bay Village.
• Partial trips to accommodate post-secondary ridership have been added to 4 UVic/Downtown, 14 Vic General/UVic, 15 Esquimalt UVic, 26 Dockyard/UVic and 39 Westhills/Interurban/Royal Oak/UVic.
• Improvements to increase service reliability, in response to traffic conditions, are being made for 4 UVic/Downtown, 9 Royal Oak/UVic, 26 Dockyard/UVic, 39 Dockyard/UVic, 50 Langford/Downtown, 51 Langford/UVic, 51 Langford/UVic, 61 Sooke/Langford/Downtown and 65 Sooke via Westhills.