Wilson’s Transportation intends to operate daily bus service between Victoria and Nanaimo (Photo submitted)

Vancouver Island bus company plans Nanaimo-Victoria service

Wilson’s Transportation intends to take over route from Greyhound Canada

A Vancouver Island-based bus company has its sights set on the Nanaimo-Victoria route.

Wilson’s Transportation Ltd. has filed an application with the province’s Passenger Transportation Board to begin operating daily round-trip bus service between Victoria and Nanaimo in 2018.

The filing comes after Greyhound Canada announced earlier this year that it planned to discontinue service along five of its routes, including its Nanaimo-Victoria route.

The Passenger Transportation Board, an independent tribunal established in 2004 under the province’s Passenger Transportation Act, will need to approve both Greyhound and Wilson’s applications.

John Wilson, chief executive officer of Wilson’s, told the News Bulletin the application will be heading to the PTB for final approval soon, but doesn’t know when a decision will be made. He said while there are challenges with the Nanaimo-Victoria route, he believes Wilson’s can make it work.

“There are some challenges around scheduled bus transportation services across North America, with numbers dwindling, but we are a local company and we hope to be able to use our network of connections in the marketplace,” Wilson said.

Wilson’s Transportation was founded in 1962 and is based in Victoria. It provides charter bus service and operates Gray Line Sightseeing Victoria, Victoria Airport shuttle service and B.C. Ferries Connector services. Wilson said his company is the largest carrier on Vancouver Island at the moment, adding it is also part of Greyhound’s inter-line network and acts as a ticket agent and carrier for Greyhound in certain markets.

Wilson said his company had heard from people expressing concerns about Greyhound’s cancellation plans. He said Greyhound could oppose Wilson’s application to the PTB, but would be stunned if that were the case.

“I cannot imagine Greyhound opposing it,” he said.

Peter Hamel, Greyhound Canada’s regional vice-president for Western Canada, said his company is aware of Wilson’s application with the transportation board but doesn’t know specifics. He said Greyhound has no time frame for when it will discontinue service because the PTB has not made a decision.

“We fully respect the process. From the day we put in the application, the board had committed to a 90-day turnaround on this,” Hamel said. “But we knew it would be more than 90 days based on the scope of this application, so to see it go into the New Year for us is not a surprise.”

Hamel said Greyhound faces stiff competition on the Nanaimo-Victoria route, pointing to Island Link Bus, Tofino Bus and B.C. Transit. He also said that with the rising popularity of ride-sharing, the route isn’t economically viable for Greyhound anymore.

“We are running single digits on that Nanaimo-Victoria corridor,” Hamel said. “In 2013 we had 17 people on that bus, as of now, we are running an average of 9.6 people on that route.”

Greyhound recently finished public consultation in northern British Columbia regarding proposed cuts along Highway 16. For now, Greyhound continues to operate on all of the routes it hopes to cancel.

“It is business as usual,” Hamel said. “We are still going to maintain the freight on the Island, whether that is with us as the carrier or we find a third-party carrier to handle the freight, but as far as freight is considered, it is going to be seamless.”



nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Invasive crab spotted near Sooke

Fisheries need more data to know if numbers are increasing

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Credit card frauds target local businesses: VicPD

Crime Reduction Unit investigating several frauds costing several businesses over $50,000

Fatherhood draws Victoria man to publish Tsimshian colouring book for children

Leon McFadden is working on 11 more books to finish the horoscope series

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying?

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Most Read