All-Time List of Canadian Transit Systems

by David A. Wyatt

Victoria, British Columbia

Principal System

Victoria Transfer Co stables (BCArchives b04910) Victoria Transfer Company Limited (09 November 1885 - circa 1890)
omnibus Incorporated 12 May 1883. Omnibus operator. Also conducted a general transfer, delivery, hack and livery business 1883 - circa 1920. (photo: BC Archives).

National Electric Tramway and Lighting Company (22 February 1890 - 06 April 1894)
street railway/light rail Incorporated 1889 (BC). Name changed to VER&LCo 1894.

Victoria open streetcar in the 1890s (B.C. Archives) Victoria Electric Railway and Lighting Company Limited (06 April 1894 - 01 May 1896)
street railway/light rail Operated by receivers for bondholders: 08 January 1896 - 01 May 1896. Sold to the CRyCo 11 April 1896. (photo: BC Archives).

Consolidated Railway Company (01 May 1896 - 15 April 1897)
street railway/light rail Operator of transit in Vancouver and interurbans on the Lower Mainland. Sold at bankruptcy to the BCER. (Photo BC Archives).

BCER [Victoria] ticket British Columbia Electric [Victoria] 707 (CanCar) (William A. Luke) British Columbia Electric Railway Company (15 April 1897 - 30 March 1962)
street railway/light rail Incorporated 04 April 1897 (Imp). Also operated transit service in Vancouver and interurban service on the Saanich Peninsula and the Lower Mainland. By 1945 was operating eight streetcar routes and eleven bus routes in greater Victoria (Canadian Coach 1967). Late period tickets bear the title Greater Victoria Transit System. Sold to the provincial government 1962. (photo William A. Luke).

BCHPA [Victoria] 732 GM TDH-4512 old look (Peter Cox 1968 Jun 15) British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority (30 March 1962 - 31 August 1973)
Provincial government entity. Operated transit in Victoria and Vancouver. (CUTA 1976-77, photo: Peter Cox).

BC Hydro [Victoria] 713 CanCar (Peter Cox 1972 Apr 15) BC Hydro [Victoria] 753 GM TDH4519 new look (Peter Cox 1965 Feb 07)

Capital Region Transit System [Victoria] 717 CanCar C36TC (Peter Cox 1974 Sep 07) Capital Region Transit System (01 September 1973 - 31 March 1983)
Operated under contract by the BCH&PA 1973 - 31 March 1980. Operated by the Metro Transit Operating Company under contract to the Urban Transit Authority from 01 April 1980. (photo: Peter Cox).

BC Transit [Victoria] 805 GM T6H-5308N new look (Peter Cox 1983 Aug 05) Victoria Regional Transit System (01 April 1983 - present)
Operated by MTOC for BC Transit 1983 - 1985. MTOC merged into BC Transit 1985. (CUTA 1989, CUTA 1991/2, BC Transit 1989/90, CUTA 1992, photo: Peter Cox).

VRTS logo
System logo
Service area population267,000
Vehicle fleet211 buses (2000)
Ridership24,455,548 (2009)
Data sources:BC Transit 1989/90
BC Transit Website 1998 (logo)
CTF [Aug. 2010] (ridership)

Secondary Systems

[Mr.] Bowman (circa 1880's)
omnibus "... transportation between the two points [Victoria and Esquimalt] had been provided in the 1880's first by a Mr. Bowman and later by the Victoria Transfer Company. By 1889 the route seems to have passed into the hands of gentleman named King." (Parker, p. 36) [italics daw]. All were omnibus operators.

Great Northern (Victoria and Sidney) gas-electric rail car at Sidney in 1915 Victoria & Sidney Railway Company (18 July 1913 - 15 November 1913)
commuter rail While the V&S operated passenger trains on the Saanich peninsula between Sidney and Victoria through all of its short life (02 June 1894 - 30 April 1919) the schedule accommodated workday commuters only briefly. For part of 1913 a morning inbound trip departing Sidney at 7:30am was scheduled to arrive at Victoria at 8:30am and the early evening departure from Victoria at 5:00pm (arrive Sidney 6:00pm) facilitated commuting. From 05 October 1902 the V&S was controlled by the Great Northern Railway Company of the United States. (Hearn & Wilkie, p. 59).

Victoria Jitney Association (by or before May 1915 - at least August 1916)
The "jitney craze" in Victoria played out in similar fashion to other Canadian cities. The first jitneys appeared November 1914 and an association (VJA?) was formed 06 February 1915 with 101 of 157 drivers as members. By April 1915 80 jitneys were in service, and the May 1915 count was 125. The VJA supported jitneymen in Victoria, Oak Bay and Esquimalt against attempts at municipal regulation. (CR&MW 1915-1918).

Victoria General Motor Bus Company Limited (11 January 1915 - 1920?)
The VGMB Co inagurated Victoria - Willows jitney service 11 January 1915. Jitney regulations and restrictions were passed by Victoria, Esquimalt and Oak Bay 01 December 1920. (Ewert).

Lake Hill Bus (circa 1916 - circa 1920?)
Jitney/bus service between Victoria and nearby Lake Hill. (British Columbia Archives: Visual Records Catalogue, call numbers B-04199, D-04562, E-04059, E-04062, E-04064, and E-04065 [photos].)

VICL [Victoria] ticket Vancouver Island Coach Lines Ltd. (15 November 1928 - 1950)
Formed as Matson's Coach Lines from an amalgamation of nine smaller operations: Gorge Bus Line, Marigold-Wilkinson Road Stages, Walker Stage Line, Sydney Flying Line, Keating-Brentwood Stage, Saanich Municipal Bus Line, West Saanich Stage, Deep Cove & Patricia Bay Stage, Pendray's Douglas Agnes Lines, and Pendray's Douglas Ralph Lines (Canadian Coach 1966, Transit Canada). By 1945 was operating seven local routes in the Victoria area (Canadian Coach 1967). VICL held a one third interest in the Victoria city transit franchise 1947-50. Late period tickets bear the title Greater Victoria Transit System. City transit franchise and many Victoria suburban operations gave way to regional transit. (photos British Columbia Archives: Visual Records Catalogue, call number I-01136, Peter Cox)

Sydney Flying Line [Victoria suburbs] jitney Vancouver Island Coach Lines [greater Victoria] #117, a GM TG3608 (Peter Cox)

Victoria Blue Line Transit ticket (front) Blue Line Transit (? - summer 1946)
Operated by Veterans' Sightseeing & Transportation Company. In 1945 was operating four Victoria area bus routes (Canadian Coach 1967). Acquired by the BCERy summer 1946 (Ewert 1986).

Frank Grimes (? - circa 1947)
Listed as a provider of scheduled passenger service in Victoria alongside BCER and others (BC PUC 1946, 1947, 1948).

Sooke Stages [Victoria] 9 mci courier 85 (Robert Loat 1969 Jan 02) Sooke Stages Ltd. (02 January 1958 - October 1972)
Operations of Sooke Transportation Limited. Took over VICL suburban services to Langford, Sooke, Cordova Bay, Happy Valley and Metchosin (Canadian Coach 1968, Canadian Coach 1970, Scrafton et al. 1970). All these areas are now part of the VRTS. Operations renamed SWCL October 1972 (photo: Robert Loat [Peter Cox coll.]).

South West Coach Lines (October 1972 - circa 1974?)
Suburban services. (Canadian Coach 1972).

Pacific Commuter [Victoria] 904 MCI Courier 96 (Peter Cox 1973 Jun 09) Pacific Commuter (circa April 1971 - circa 1974?)
Operations of McArthur Transportation. Took over VICL suburban routes on the Saanich peninsula (Canadian Coach 1971). (Canadian Coach 1974, photo: Peter Cox).

victoria-VITL6317GMsdh5302-016_nl-cox1978aug03.jpg Vancouver Island Transit Ltd. (circa 1974 - circa 1978)
Crown corporation established as an operator for commuter transit services previously operated by Sooke and Pacific Commuter. Communities linked with Victoria included Langford, Sidney, and Metchosin. Operations folded into the Capital Region Transit System and it's operator British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority about 1978. (John M. Day 2010, Wally Young 2010, photo: Peter Cox).

Baseline Ferry [Victoria] vessel Grey Selkie (website 2012) Victoria Harbour Ferry Co. Ltd. (1990 - ?)
ferry Point-to-point passenger service on two routes around Victoria harbour (DAW 2008). Harbour service is seasonal (March to October) (website 2012). From 01 May 2012 to 19 April 2013 also operated year round Baseline Ferry service from the Colwood side of the harbour to Esquimalt Dockyard and (from 13 November 2012) Esquimalt Graving Dock (website 2012). The Baseline Ferry service replaced the Department of National Defence operated “Blue Boat” ferry service cancelled March 2012 after 55 years of operation. (photo: website 2012). Website defunct by 2016.

Langford Trolley (07 July 2007 - 30 June 2017)
Local circulator bus service provided daily, funded in part by the City of Langford. Fares are collected by donation. From 05 May 2016 operated by Wilson's Transportation (website 2016). Service discontinued June 2017.

Langford Trolley logo
system logo
Data source: website (2013)

Langtoria Greenline (17 October 2016 - 30 June 2017)
Commuter bus service connecting Langford to Victoria, subsidized by the City of Langford. Operated under contract by Wilson's Transportation (Victoria Times Colonist 20 September 2016). Service discontinued June 2017 for low ridership.


Omnibus09 November 1885 - circa 1890
Electric railway22 February 1890 - 03 July 1948>*
Trolley Coach (demonstration)**19 November 1945 - 30 November 1945
Motor bus1926 - present
* Formal closing ceremonies held 05 July 1948 (RFC).
** The public was carried free during the demonstration operation. No regular service by trolley coach resulted.

British Columbia Electric: Saanich Division Interurban

British Columbia Electric Railway Company (19 June 1913 - 31 October 1924>)
electric interurban An interurban line on the Saanich Peninsula of Vancouver Island operated 1913 - 1924 (formal opening ceremonies 18 June 1913) (Ewert 1986). See also the company's Lower Mainland interurban lines. (British Columbia Archives: Visual Records Catalogue, call number E-06748 [photo])


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This page last modified: Tuesday, 25-Feb-2020 15:32:06 CST