Eighty people, now former Gray Line West employees, are out of a job today as the Victoria charter bus company shuts its doors.
On Wednesday, maintenance crews will pack up their tools and close shop at the Glanford Avenue facility after last week’s announcement that Armstrong Group, which owned Gray Line West, could not successfully find a buyer to operate the company.
“Historically, we have been interested in exiting the motor-coach business and have been honest enough with our employees over the last two to three years to let them know that,” said James Terry, executive vice-president with Armstrong.
Gray Line’s was leasing the Saanich-based maintenance yard until last month, when the property was sold to B.C. Transit. Terry said Armstrong Group spent the month since trying to sell the company, but, despite some interest, couldn’t get a deal done.
The charter’s 60 buses will be sold to three different companies, including Armstrong’s operations in Kamloops. Most of the buses, Terry said, will remain in the region for use by Wilson’s Transportation and TMS Horizon.
Gray Line West has operated in Victoria for more than 100 years, the last six by Armstrong Group.
“Somebody may well pick up the Gray Line name, negotiate with Gray Line and it could be almost seamless,” Terry said. “Obviously what everybody hopes is somebody pick up the business, and our ex-employees get hired by the company that purchases the buses.”