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

A heavy police presence was on scene on Dec. 28, 2017 following the shooting death on Bates Road in Abbotsford of Alexander Blanarou, 24, of Surrey. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Three men charged with Abbotsford shooting death of Surrey man

Alexander Blanarou, 24, was killed in a rural area on Dec. 28, 2017

Photo by Dale Klippenstein
Hit-and-run driver knocks pedestrian into ditch in Abbotsford

Woman was walking in area of Harris Road and Riverside Street on Monday

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

Abbotsford residents gather in the Clearbrook area on Monday to demonstrate against what they say is unfairt treatment by the Indian government to farmers in the Punjab region of that country. (Maan Sidhu photo)
Abbotsford residents gather to protest unfair treatment of India farmers

Locals believe new bills will devastate small farms, demand farmers be allowed to protest peacefully

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
32 family members respond to Abbotsford care home’s plea for staffing help during COVID-19 outbreak

Menno Home asks for relief workers for food service, laundry and housekeeping

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Mirandy Tracy, left, and Tara Kurtz are two Langley mothers who are organizing a "sick out" for Tuesday, Dec. 1 to protest COVID conditions in schools. They're calling for masks and smaller class sizes, among other things. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Politician, labour leader throw support behind student Sick Out day

Langley parents started the movement to keep kids home on Dec. 1 as a protest

A family emerged with a purchase at the Tannenbaum Tree Farm at 5398 252 St in Aldergrove on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Christmas tree season is off to an early start

People are ‘bored’ with staying home due to COVID-19 and want to decorate early, farm owner believes

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

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

A convoy of seven pickup trucks, six of which were hauling boats, makes its way around the Chilliwack Law Courts on Dec. 1, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
First court date for Fraser River anglers ticketed during demonstration fishery

Convoy of trucks circled the courthouse in downtown Chilliwack Tuesday honking their support

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

Most Read