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

Just Posted

Dep. Fire Chiefs Rich Piché (left) and Stephane Dionne said they were disappointed that only one person showed up at the George Evans fire hall’s recruitment drive Tuesday evening, May. 11. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks Fire/Rescue says rural fire hall at risk of closing

Home insurance could spike across North Fork if George Evans fire hall loses fire protection status

Adam Hamdan has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Christina Lake man given temporary residence in Canada

Adam Hamdan had been facing deportation to Jordan, where he holds citizenship through his Palestinian parents

Ted Invictus (left) pulls a piano through the crosswalk between Market Avenue and 2nd Street as Nathan Vogel plays a few notes Monday morning, May 10. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Music-lovers deliver street piano in Grand Forks

Musician gives one-handed performance as volunteers rolled the Heintzman through the city’s main street

Dep. Fire Chief Rich Piché said he hopes to raise money to buy 100 cups of coffee for frontline workers. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks Fire/Rescue to host coffee fundraiser

Lucky donors to receive free smoke detectors

Thursday, Feb. 4: RDKB Chief Engineer Darryl Funk hoists a banner commemorating last year’s championship season by the Bantam House Bruins. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Bantam Bruins honoured at hair-raising banner ceremony at Grand Forks’ Jack Goddard Arena

Asst. coach Mike Tollis said he reluctantly gave in to the team’s victory wish that he cut his pony tale

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Surrey RCMP is releasing sketches of a suspect in an “indecent act” at the Coyote Creek Elementary playground on April 30, 2021. Police said the suspect was clean-shaven “during some interactions” and on “other occasions had stubble outlining a goatee and mustache.” (Images: Surrey RCMP handout)
Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

Premier Mike Horgan received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Facebook/John Horgan)
More than 50% of people eligible in B.C. have received 1st vaccine dose

‘We’ve made extraordinary progress together over the past few weeks,’ says Premier Horgan

Most Read