John Wilson, president and CEO, The Wilson’s Group of Companies. (Black Press Media file photo)

John Wilson, president and CEO, The Wilson’s Group of Companies. (Black Press Media file photo)

Greater Victoria inter-city bus operators land $2 million in provincial funding

Funding aims to help with recovery after COVID-19 battered the tourism industry

Two Greater Victoria inter-city bus services have received more than $2 million from the province.

The funding, announced in late March, aims to help inter-city bus operators recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

West Coast Trail Express and Wilson’s Transportation are the two local companies to receive the funding. West Coast Trail Express will get almost $705,000 and Wilson’s will receive just over $1,467,000.

West Coast Trail buses take passengers to and from trailheads across the south Island. Wilson’s Transportation is Vancouver Island’s largest charter bus company and it also picked up some of the inter-city routes that were dropped by Greyhound in 2018.

READ: B.C. motor coach industry at the breaking point, says Victoria operator

The province said inter-city buses give people from rural communities a safe and affordable way to travel to essential services and appointments.

“Today is filled with a sense of overwhelming gratitude and relief for the inter-city ground transportation sector across the province, but more importantly for the members of our rural, remote and Indigenous communities that rely on these services,” said John Wilson, president and CEO of the Wilson’s Group of Companies, in a release.

Earlier this year, Wilson told Black Press Media that the ground transportation industry had been devastated by the restrictions and advisories against travel during the pandemic. He said coach bus operators would have to reduce their capacity if the government didn’t help the battered industry, which Wilson said would hurt the province’s overall post-pandemic recovery.

The province announced the $6.2 million investment for 20 inter-city bus operators across B.C. on March 30. The funds are meant to help cover operating and maintenance expenses and will also go toward payroll, rent and overhead costs.

READ: B.C. bus lines, regional airports to get $27M in COVID-19 aid

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