After six months without service, the wheels on the bus will finally go ‘round from Port Hardy to Campbell River, with stops in Port McNeill and Woss.
Waivin’ Flags will host the first run Tuesday, Nov. 10, leaving Port Hardy at 7 a.m., returning from Campbell River at 3:30 p.m. The local company was approved by the Passenger Transportation Board in September, but it’s taken time to get the bus licences and online booking system in order.
The same day schedule is an improvement over the previous service, owner Paige Quansah said, because it allows passengers to avoid staying overnight in Campbell.
Ticket prices have increased to $100 from the $67 Tofino Bus Service (also called Vancouver Island Connector) used to charge. Quansah has been in talks with local community partners, and no one has complained so far. There will be group rates for families, as well as seniors’ discounts, she said, and people travelling for medical services will often qualify for a travel voucher.
Tofino Bus Service cancelled their service of the northern route in May because it was hemorrhaging money. At the time, they said rural bus service would not be viable as a business without government subsidies.
Masks required, and anyone not in a family bubble will be seated with skipped seats to maintain a safe distance. The bus is wheelchair accessible.
Quansah has created a two-week rotating schedule, week two runs Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; week one runs Monday Wednesday Friday.
Passengers can book online at www.waivinflags.com, or call the dispatch line at (250)230-8294. Payments will be taken on the bus until the online payment system is working.
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