Transportation between Victoria and our western reaches has taken many forms over the years. The First Nations dipped their paddles for speedy canoe travel, while the first immigrant settlers either followed trails by foot or rode horse back.
Next were horse-drawn stages, then motor stages. For a period in the 1940s and 1950s the big lumbering gasoline fueled coaches of Vancouver Island Coach Lines ran between Jordan River and Victoria.
In time, with more and more residents purchasing automobiles, bus traffic lessened, and private vehicles were the order of the day. At that point, absence of public transportation created a problem for some, and three residents of Sooke River Road took the initiative of trying to fill that vacuum. Roy and Helen Montgomery formed a partnership with their neighbour, schoolteacher Norman Rogers, to purchase the bus shown in this photo. Under the banner of Sooke Transportation Company, the vehicle made a daily trip to Victoria, and offered excursions on weekends.
Shown parked on the Port Renfrew wharf in 1960, the Mercedes-Benz could carry approximately 19 passengers. At left are Norman Rogers and Roy and Helen Montgomery, alongside a group of seniors who had booked the excursion.
The spanking-new vehicle was equipped with a CB radio system that connected the bus to the master set in the Montgomery home. It was interesting to find that when we spoke with Joe Zigay in researching this vehicle, he commented that he had been working on the remnants of the old CB radio master set, and had just got it working.
It would have been hard for the bus passengers of that time to imagine the hundreds of commuters in 2011 who keep BC Transit buses busy all day, every day.
Sooke Region Museum