Bus service cuts made to Youbou, Honeymoon Bay

Transit users in the Cowichan Lake area will notice some changes to service around the lake,

Changes to BC Transit routes will impact travelers going between Lake Cowichan and the three other lake communities (Mesachie Lake

Transit users in the Cowichan Lake area will notice some changes to service around the lake, specifically those traveling routes between Lake Cowichan, Honeymoon Bay and Youbou.

On Monday, Jonathon Dyck, the media relations contact for BC Transit, announced that Sunday and statutory holiday service is being discontinued in Honeymoon Bay and Youbou due to “very low ridership.”

Bus times in the early morning have also been changed.

On weekdays, the first No. 21 bus now departs Lake Cowichan at 7:28 a.m., arriving in Honeymoon Bay at 7:46 a.m. The first No. 20 bus now departs Lake Cowichan at 7:28 a.m., arriving in Youbou at 7:50 a.m. These buses had previously left Lake Cowichan at 5:48 a.m.

Dyck said these changes were made to “help address large gaps in trip frequency” on these routes.

A positive change for riders going to Youbou is the addition of a Monday to Thursday bus from Lake Cowichan at 7:09 p.m.

Previously, this riding had only been on Fridays.

This brings the service levels to Youbou in line with those going to Honeymoon Bay.

The new schedule comes into effect Oct. 3.

These changes were discussed by Lake Cowichan town council at its monthly council meeting on Sept. 20, where Jim Wakeham, manager of facilities and transit division at the CVRD, answered questions about a CVRD bylaw seeking to increase the maximum annual tax requisition limit for the transit service by approximately $900,000.

In order for the CVRD board to consider this bylaw, it needed to obtain written consent from all its transit service areas, including the four municipalities.

Wakeham said he could not give a specific account of the financial impact on Lake Cowichan at this time.

“The whole intent of allowing for the maximum tax requisition to be increased is it’s kind of like using like a line of credit. So the taxes aren’t going up next year if this was approved,” he said.

Wakeham acknowledged the changes to the Youbou and Honeymoon Bay routes.

“We’ve looked at their ridership and there’s some good and not-so-good on certain items. And because there was no funding from the provincial government for the last year, we had to make cost-neutral changes… You’re not the only area, it’s the same with Ladysmith as well,” he said.

He also acknowledged that the No. 7 route between Lake Cowichan and Duncan is one their busiest.

“When you look at the service initiatives we’re trying to project in the next three years, the goal for this area is to get more frequency. To get more trips connecting Lake Cowichan and Duncan,” he said.

Council voted unanimously to adopt the bylaw.