Locked gates adjacent to Gowland Tod Provincial Park. In the past, boaters and the public had been able to catch the bus from Butchart Gardens but the company has now barred access to non-paying customers. No reason has been given and the company declined to answer any questions. (Nick Murray/News Staff)

Just want to catch the bus from Butchart Gardens? You still have to pay full entry price

Company charging non-customers full entry fee to catch BC Transit bus on property

Visitors to Gowlland Tod Provincial Park wishing to catch a public bus from nearby Butchart Gardens are having to pay $33.80, as the company has barred access to the general public unless they pay the attraction’s full entry fee.

In the past, users of Gowlland Tod Park had been able to access the nearest bus stop, operated by Butchart Gardens and just inside their parking lot, for free. Recently, the company has started charging anyone wishing to catch a bus from there, an inconvenience says some boaters who moor at the nearby Tod Inlet. These boaters rely on the BC Transit service to get supplies from local stores and amenities. It is estimated that crews of up to 40 vessels are currently being affected by the policy.

ALSO READ: Travel disruption ahead for B.C. Day long weekend

Matt Wallis, from Anacortes, Wash., has been mooring at Tod Inlet for years and regularly used the bus stop. He explains his recent experience.

“So we walked over to the entrance of the gardens and asked if we could have access to the BC Transit bus terminal and they said ‘Oh no, that’s only for paying customers.’ So they’re limiting access to the public bus to their paying customers, which is a little nutty I thought, I mean, it’s a public bus.”

Boaters are reluctant to pay the entry fee as it dwarfs the price of the actual bus fare. They now have to embark on a one-kilometre walk, uphill and exposed to traffic, to get to the next stop.

“That park is used by tons of people not just boaters and you’d think that BC Transit would like to provide service to it. I would hope either they add a stop right outside the gardens, probably 100 feet from the current stop, or the Gardens need to let other folks use that bus terminal,” says Wallis.

ALSO READ: Sidney considers bylaw change to allow weed shops

In the past, Butchart Gardens has expressed interest in improved transit provision and this summer BC Transit increased its service to the business, enhancing routes #75 and #81, which deliver customers right inside Butchart’s compound.

Wallis raises the point that Butchart Gardens often operates boating tours around Tod Inlet, with some customers likely to have used the public bus service to get to the attraction.

Black Press Media approached Butchart Gardens to see what prompted the change. The company declined to answer any questions.

BC Transit provided a written response, “We consider all stops to be used by members of the public. If we have a stop on private property, we work with the property owner to understand the requirements for the stop.”

Couns. Zeb King of Central Saanich says residents who pay for the #75 bus contribute approximately $1 million towards public transit.

ALSO READ: Free kids’ nature walks offer crabs, marine beasties and Canada’s largest marine snail

“Public transit is called public because it serves the needs of all residents and taxpayers and not simply the needs of a single private business. While I support increased trips to Butchart, this should mean more Bus 75 trips serving the rest of the route and not only going to and from a single privately owned and operated business,” he said, adding, “Otherwise this becomes less public and more private transit.”

Ironically, Wallis says he used to moor at Tod Inlet so his family could visit Butchart one day and then bus into Sidney or Victoria the following days. Because of the company’s decision to bar access, he says he doesn’t think he’ll be back.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

The sign barring non-customers to the bus stop. (Submitted by Matt Wallis)

Just Posted

For Central Saanich couple, fight against MS is a matter of family

Altenkirks sell greeting cards and wooden bowls to raise money for MS Society

Victoria feels the pinch at the pump as gas prices jump 18 cents

Gas up to 157.9 cents per litre at some stations

Oak Bay win first Bridgman Cup since 1973

Annual UVic event is an indicator for coming South Island finals, Island finals and provincials

‘Panda’ Goodlife runner searches for his head

Facebook post for help leads to ‘unconfirmed panda head sightings’

Saanich staff recommend rejecting ALR exclusion of former Royal Oak golf course

Finial decision rest with Agricultural Land Commission

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

Potent power play paces Canucks to 5-1 win over Detroit

Miller nets a pair as Vancouver wins third straight

UPDATE: British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in U.S. after crossing border

CBP claims individuals were denied travel authorization, crossing was deliberate

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

B.C. massage therapist reprimanded, fined for exposing patients’ breasts

Registered massage therapist admits professional misconduct

B.C. boosts legal aid funding in new payment contract

‘Duty counsel’ service restored in some communities, David Eby says

VIDEO: Bear spies on cyclists riding by on Campbell River street

Riders seem unaware the bruin is mere feet away on the side of the road

Most Read