The reality is stark for tourism and transportation businesses, and without immediate help many vital services and experiences will disappear before the pandemic ends. On Monday, Wilson's Transportation announced it cannot afford to resume bus service to Tofino on Feb. 12, as previously planned.
Wilson has asked the province for help ensuring its essential service could continue.
“There is a similar subsidy model in place to ensure public safety along the Highway of Tears in Northern BC,” said John Wilson, President and CEO of Wilson's Group of Companies in a news release. “We know how important our services are to island First Nations and other communities and we also know the devastating effects the loss of a service like ours can have.”
The Times Colonist reports that Transportation Minister Rob Fleming acknowledged, in a statement, that some inter-city bus providers, like other businesses, are struggling. “I recognize how dire the situation is, and am fully committed to working with this sector in the recovery from pandemic-induced financial challenges.”
According to the latest industry statistics from Chemistry Consulting, the number of buses using BC Ferries was down almost 90% in 2020 from 2019. The situation is also dire for accommodation providers who saw revenue per available room drop by almost $85 per night in 2020 compared to the year before.
Wilson's has also started an online petition to try and collect as many signatures as possible to show support for keeping the service. Sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/SaveTofinoBus