Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Cheap and High Adventure Way to Get from Victoria to Duncan

Note: after this post my blog returns to a one a day schedule until Monday, when it begins an 11-day hiatus.

Unlike my directions from Victoria to Seattle, I’m not going to put down exact times because, frankly, the Cowichan Valley branch of BC Transit changes their times too frequently. Note that it may be possible to get to Mill Bay at least cheaper by highway bus if you book over a month in advance, but what are the chances that you are going to know you are visiting Duncan on a specific day that far in advance? No rates offered either because they change too frequently as well. If you are going the opposite directly the cheapest way is to take the commuter bus, but for people going to Duncan in the morning and returning in the evening, there is no commuter bus.

From downtown Victoria, take the 75 bus as close as you can to the Brentwood Bay Ferry Terminal. Likely you’ll have to walk a few blocks (this is currently the case) but if so it’s downhill. Take the ferry from Brentwood Bay to Mill Bay Ferry Terminal (which is actually outside Mill Bay proper). They recently replaced the traditional Mill Bay terry with a new larger one. Now you’ll have to do a long hike from the ferry terminal to Mill Bay Shopping Centre. There is a bus stop at the terminal but ignore it as it rarely runs and even when it does, it’s there to drop off passengers and leave, so it’ll probably already be gone. Move as quickly as you can as you’ll likely be cutting it a bit close for the next step.

At Mill Bay Shopping Centre, take the next transit bus to Duncan. Unfortunately the exact bus number keeps changing. It used to be that the bus would go directly to Duncan. Currently the bus switches number at Valley View Centre in Cobble Hill. If this is still the case when you decide to go, you can step outside for a few minutes if you’d like and then get back on when it’s ready to do the return trip. Get a bus schedule while on the bus if you don’t have one yet. Currently the bus to and from Valley View Center and Duncan is the number 10.

Getting back is similar but there are a few differences. First off, the layover at Valley View Centre is shorter, so stay on the bus. If you don’t want to visit Mill Bay Shopping Centre, it might be worth checking the schedule and see if the bus goes to or closer to the Mill Bay Ferry Terminal. Currently on the Brentwood Bay side, the bus going downtown stops closer to the ferry terminal than the one heading from downtown, though the trade off is you’ll likely have a bit of a wait for the bus. Finally, depending on how late you head home, the 75 might terminate at Royal Oak Exchange or at least change numbers there. If the former, you’ll have a lot of other buses to choose from.

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