Routes to Tofino will remain suspended until May. (Black Press file photo)

Routes to Tofino will remain suspended until May. (Black Press file photo)

Vancouver Island Connector bus service paused after ridership plummets

Service between Victoria and Tofino, Nanaimo and Campbell River expected to resume in May

Wilson’s Transportation has suspended routes to Tofino from Victoria, Nanaimo and Campbell River until May, citing lower-than-average ridership and high operating costs.

The Brand Manager for Wilson’s Transportation, LTD., Samantha Wilson-Newton, said the decision was a tough one, acknowledging the impact it will have on riders who depend on these services.

“We had to suspend service because essentially after about September, the passenger count just dropped so drastically that we could not cover the operational expenses,” Wilson-Newton said.

Wilson’s Transportation is privately operated and does not receive federal funding or subsidies and operates based on ticket sales, but with a sharp decline in passengers riding these routes, Wilson-Newton said it was not financially feasible to continue.

“We can’t afford to operate the service at a loss over the winter months so we’ve decided to pause the service until May of 2023 when we know, historically, that the passenger counts increase and we are able to operate again,” she said. “Unfortunately, when passenger counts drop as low as ours have, difficult decisions, such as cutting back on service unfortunately have to be made.”

Wilson’s Transportation is still working to overcome set-backs from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit privately operated transportation companies heavily.

“It was a very difficult decision, we do understand that there’s a lot of people who rely on these services,” she said. “We will continue to advocate at all levels of government for these services. Right across Canada, inter-city, private operators are struggling and we will continue to advocate to try to get some subsidies so that these services can continue to run, much like the urban center services do.”

READ MORE: Police investigate hateful graffiti on totem poles at Royal Roads


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