The Tofino Bus is hoping to resume service by the first week of April. (Tofino Bus Photo)

The Tofino Bus is hoping to resume service by the first week of April. (Tofino Bus Photo)

Island bus service to resume

Tofino Bus could be operational by April after gov’t cash injection

After a $27 million grant announcement by the provincial government earlier this month, Vancouver Island’s ground transportation service is expected to resume service once more.

In February, Wilson’s Transportation announced that the Vancouver Island Connector—along with the Tofino Bus—would be suspended “until further notice” due to revenue impacts from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

However, on March 9, the B.C. government announced a new grant to support inter-city bus service, as well as regional airports.

Bus services and airports can begin applying for a $27 million fund to keep them going until travel restrictions are eased later this year, Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said March 9.

“During the pandemic, inter-city bus operators that connect rural and remote communities and regional airports that provide medical safety services experienced a significant drop in ridership,” said Fleming in a press release. “This relief funding will help these vital services stay open and be ready for a strong recovery when travel restrictions are relieved by the COVID-19 vaccination effort in B.C.”

John Wilson, president and CEO of Wilson’s Group of Companies, said that Wilson’s will look at restarting services “in the coming weeks” to ensure Vancouver Island has connectivity once again.

“Today is filled with a sense of overwhelming gratitude and relief for the inter-city ground transportation sector across the province, but more importantly for the members of our rural, remote and Indigenous communities that rely on these services,” Wilson said on March 9.

On its website, the Vancouver Island Connector says it hopes to resume service by the first week of April.

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