GRIDLOCK 2020: Killer commute, costly delays of Victoria traffic crunch

WATCH: In part two of our special GRIDLOCK 2020 traffic series, we look at the killer commute from the West Shore and the price businesses are paying for the Victoria traffic crunch. Tess van Straaten reports.

Sarah Heyer has a killer commute.

The Langford woman works in Saanich and has to drive to work during rush hour — a drive that takes about an hour each way and adds up to at least two hours a day commuting in congested Victoria traffic.

“I really wish there wasn’t so much traffic,” says Heyer, who’s lived on the West Shore for years and says it never used to be this bad.

It’s gridlock as soon as Heyer hits the Trans Canada Highway and traffic on the TCH never gets above 20 kilometres an hour.

“The worst days would be Tuesdays and Thursdays and the traffic is just unbelievable,” says Heyer. “It gets backed up all the way to Sooke Road. It’s just crazy.”

It’s something BC Transit driver Luke Hill knows all too well.

“The Colwood crawl is getting worse by the day and there’s not really anywhere in town not affected by traffic congestion anymore,” says Hill.

Hill says the worst spots are the TCH and the Old Island Highway.

“In afternoon rush hour to get from Admirals Walk mall to the Colwood exchange takes usually about 40 to 45 minutes whereas the return trip going against the traffic only takes nine minutes, even with the stops.”

The congestion crunch isn’t just costing people time — businesses are also paying the price.

“It’s costing us probably a couple thousand dollars a day,” says Maximum Express owner Al Hasham.

With courier vans on the road seven days a week, the Victoria company spends a lot of time in the gridlock.

The costly delays add up to about $60,000 a month compared to just five years ago.

“Not only do the drivers not get enough done in a day, it costs us more in gas, it costs us more in time, and it costs us more in operating expenses,” Hasham told CHEK News.

And all too often, it’s customers who end up paying more.

“It is definitely more expensive with the current traffic to run a transportation business in Victoria,” says John Wilson of Wilson Transportation “”Some of it we have to absorb but some of it unfortunately we have to move along to our clients as well.”

Businesses and commuters just hope something is done soon.

“Going home is usually the worst,” Sarah Heyer says. “It’s bumper to bumper all the way home.”