The Route 52 Langford Exchange will be seeing significant increases to service come Dec. 29 when the bus starts travelling up to Bear Mountain and Westhills.

Langford neighbourhoods to gain better bus coverage

Expanded routes part of an overhaul of transit routes

The West Shore will soon see a significant increase in transit service to Bear Mountain and Westhills.

“Our greatest focus during this service improvement has been to optimize resources in the West Shore and provide the best transit service possible,” said Meribeth Burton, spokesperson for B.C. Transit.

“For at least the last two years, community members of both Westhills and Bear Mountain have appeared before the transit councils asking for service to these high-growth communities. There were presentations by the developers on Westhills. There have been petitions, there have been letters and delegations,” she said. “This was a natural progression and we’re excited.”

The changes take effect Dec. 29. They include:

• An expansion of Route 52 Colwood up into Bear Mountain, with hourly service and buses every 30 minutes during peak rush hour times;

• Route 57 Westhills will see hourly service to the Langford Exchange;

• The Western Transit Exchange, next to West Shore Parks and Recreation, will be renamed the Colwood Transit Exchange. B.C. Transit will also extend a commuter service to Latoria Road and Happy Valley.

“The No. 52 pretty much just operated between Colwood Exchange and Langford Exchange,” said James Wadsworth, a senior transit planner with B.C. Transit.

The route will now connect Bear Mountain, Millstream Village shopping centre, downtown Langford, West Shore Town Centre, Royal Roads University and Colwood Corners, all on one transit route.

“That’s the route where we’ve put a significant increase in for service hours,” he said.

“Mayor and council have been working on this with B.C. Transit for quite a while now,” said Langford Coun. Matt Sahlstrom. “It’s giving us easier access to those areas without people having to get into their cars, and we can get people into the smaller areas. It’s going to make accessibility a lot better for everybody involved.”

“I live on one of the routes on Triangle Mountain, so I’m certainly going to appreciate it,” he said.

Other changes include more frequent service on Bay Street from the Route 10 Royal Jubilee/Songhees, and increased service to the Route 14 UVic/Vic General. Service is being adjusted on the Route 25 Maplewood/Colwood to better align with school schedules.

“This is not a service expansion,” said Burton, adding that 5,000 more service hours were already added in September. Instead, the improvements have been a result of re-allocating resources to maximize efficiency.

“Our planning team sat down and went route by route, trip by trip, to see which ones were not performing,” she said. The result was a complete rewriting of the transit schedules to ensure that demand for reliable and frequent transit is being met, especially on the West Shore.

“We’re trying to align our services with growth and development, and that’s what’s happening here,” said Wadsworth.

For a complete list of service changes, visit bit.ly/1sBQncF.

acowan@goldstreamgazette.com