Tofino Bus Service claims north island bus service is unsustainable without subsidy. (viconnector.com Photo)

Tofino Bus Service wants to cancel service to the north island

“There is no model without subsidy that makes [this service] sustainable.”

Tofino Bus Service is hoping to eliminate its Campbell River to Port Hardy leg of its route, officially putting a request in to B.C.’s Passenger Transportation Board.

In the application, the bus service says its request is due to low ridership numbers along Route 5, which runs on Highway 19 from Campbell River through Sayward, Woss Camp, and Port McNeill the junction to Port Alice before ending in Port Hardy.

READ MORE: Tofino Bus launches shipping service to replace Greyhound across Vancouver Island

Tofino Bus Service currently holds a license which requires one round trip per day along the route.

Last year, annual ridership was 4,068 passengers, meaning on the required daily trip, the average bus had about five to six passengers in each direction. The company claims to have lost $173,361 on Route 5 in 2019.

“As a private business that is not subsidized, it is not feasible to operate this route averaging only five passengers per day. This route is 250 kilometers in length and the operating costs far outweigh the revenue prospects,” Tofino Bus Service wrote in its application.

The company added that the route has consistently struggled with low ridership, including years ago when Greyhound serviced Vancouver Island. Greyhound halted its services in B.C. in mid-2018.

The Passenger Transportation Board will consider comments from the public before it makes a decision. The deadline for comment is May 27, 2020. Comments can be submitted via email at: submissions@ptboard.bc.ca. Reference Application 9000-20, or Vancouver Island Route 5 in the subject line.

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email:
zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca.


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