Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)

B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

The inter-city B.C. bus companies that carried on and expanded after Greyhound pulled out of Western Canada say they aren’t likely to make it through the COVID-19 pandemic without help from the B.C. and federal government.

“The motor coach industry across B.C. is down a minimum 95 per cent in gross revenue since March 1, 2020 and doesn’t expect a return to anything more than 50 per cent revenues in 2021,” said John Wilson, president of Victoria-based Wilson’s Transportation Oct. 29.

Wilson’s is part of a newly formed B.C. Motor Coach Coalition, along with its subsidiary Tofino Bus, Bluestar Coachlines of Kelowna, Charter Bus Lines and Quick Coachlines based in Delta, Nanaimo-based Vancouver Island Coach Lines, Northern Spirit Transportation out of Prince George, International Stage Lines of Richmond, Kamloops-based Canada West Coachlines, CVS Tours of Victoria and Perimeter Transportation serving Vancouver, Whistler and Squamish.

The coalition says the B.C. government’s small and medium business grant program is offering up to $40,000 for tourism-related businesses isn’t enough, and like other companies, some motor coach operators don’t qualify. Ottawa’s assistance hasn’t been enough either, says David Holmes, general manager of Perimeter Transportation.

“Federal government programs such as Canada Emergency Wage Supplement aren’t sufficient or beneficial to an industry that is almost completely shut down due to government restrictions,” Holmes said.

The coalition is seeking additional government grants or deferrable loans. The national group, Motor Coach Canada, estimates that a group travelling by motor coach generates $10,000 to $15,000 per day in spending on the local economy.

“We not only serve the tourism industry, but also youth groups, senior citizens, nonprofits, local sports teams, school groups and people at risk,” said Brad Sidjak, general manager of International Stage Lines.

RELATED: Wilson’s expands bus service to Kelowna, Kamloops

RELATED: Post-Greyhound service links Kootenays, Okanagan

Wilson’s was among the companies that expanded after Greyhound stopped service in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba in the fall of 2018. The B.C. Passenger Transportation Board issued a licence to Wilson’s to operate Vancouver-Kelowna and Vancouver-Kamloops service as Greyhound wound up its B.C. operations, with stops in Langley, Chilliwack and Merritt as well as its B.C. Ferries Connector service to Victoria.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureBC politicsCoronavirus

Just Posted

Soaker hoses laid down over corn seedlings, soon to be covered with mulch, will see to the watering needs of the bed through any summer drought. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Investing in soaker hoses is money well-spent

No-till gardening has a distinct advantage during drought

Karl McPherson, left, and Mary Morrice are the new head coach and general manager, respectively, at the Duncan Dynamics Gymnastics Club. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Manager charts a new course for Duncan Dynamics

More recreational programs to join competitive teams

Cute but fierce! Timber moonlights as an attack kitty. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Sarah Simpson Column: Beware of Mr. Bite, the midnight attacker

Last week, in the middle of the night, I was awoken by… Continue reading

The province has come through with funding for Duncan Manor’s renewal project. (File photo)
Funding comes through for Duncan Manor’s renewal project

Money will come from the province’s Community Housing Fund

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Most Read