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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Caroline Sousa, Bela Spick and her son Mateo marched along Prospect Lake Road in November 2019 to bring attention to the unsafe conditions on the road. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich reduces Prospect Lake Road speed limit to 30 km/h

New speed limit in effect as of Dec. 1 from Goward Road to Estelline Road

Royal Bay Secondary’s leadership class, comprised of Grade 9 through 12 students, is part of the student team organizing this year’s 10,000 Tonight event that shifts entirely online for 2020. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
West Shore student food drive shifts entirely online

Drive-thru option removed from 10,000 Tonight in light of COVID-19 restrictions

Colwood resident, Geoffrey Irwin, has been missing since Sep. 27. His vehicle was found in Vancouver on Nov. 25. (Courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
Police search for Colwood man last seen in September

Geoffrey Irwin’s vehicle was found in Vancouver Nov. 25

BC Transit confirmed on Dec. 1 that a Langford employee has tested positive for COVID-19. (Courtesy of BC Transit)
Langford transit worker tests positive for COVID-19

Island Health is conducting contact tracing for the case

The BCCDC has added Air Canada Jazz flight 8081 on Nov. 26 to its flight exposure list. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)
New COVID-19 exposure on flight from Vancouver to Victoria

Rows four to 10 on Air Canada Jazz flight 8081 on Nov. 26 were exposed

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Dave Wallace coached the Parksville Royals for 23 years. (PQB News file photo)
B.C. baseball community mourns death of legendary Vancouver Island coach Dave Wallace

‘All who knew Dave and his passion for the game will miss him greatly’

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Most Read