Tofino Bus has 31 buses in its fleet—with two more on the way—and runs that service all of Vancouver Island from Port Hardy in the north to Victoria in the south. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Tofino Bus will cover Victoria–Nanaimo route after Greyhound announces cut

Although its name says ‘Tofino’, this bus company serves all of Vancouver Island

Bus passengers on Vancouver Island won’t notice a difference in service once Greyhound cuts its route between Nanaimo and Victoria, says Dylan Green, president of Tofino Bus. Green’s company—which offers Island-wide passenger service between Port Hardy and Victoria, and out to the west coast—already has a busy route between the two cities, and is poised to expand once Greyhound makes its cuts.

The B.C. Passenger Transportation Board on Feb. 21 approved Greyhound’s request to cut service to nine routes across B.C., including Victoria–Nanaimo.

In August 2017, Greyhound Canada applied to the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board to discontinue its service between Victoria and Nanaimo, citing declining ridership as its primary reason. Tofino Bus was approved in November 2017 to expand its service already in place between Nanaimo and Victoria to include smaller communities along the route, including Mill Bay, Cobble Hill, Cowichan Bay, Duncan, Chemainus, Ladysmith and Departure Bay in Nanaimo.

Green said has been expecting a decision to come down for a few months. He said their business has increased as the public has heard rumours about Greyhound’s cuts—and many already believed Greyhound had ceased service between the two cities.

“We’ve actually been quite busy,” he said. “Almost a third of our traffic is passengers trying to get to Victoria.”

Former commuter Peter Brust of Duncan says he sees a need for bus service between Nanaimo and Victoria, even though BC Transit already offers a commuter bus between Nanaimo and Cowichan. Brust said a couple of years ago he took the Greyhound bus regularly for work and shopping trips. The route to Victoria was popular, he added, with a range of users from families and youth to seniors.

Tofino Bus already makes three runs a day between Nanaimo and Victoria, with an extra on Fridays and Sundays. Once Greyhound cuts its run between the same cities, Tofino Bus will increase the Nanaimo–Victoria runs to four times a day and five times on Fridays and Sundays.

This is not the first time Tofino Bus has expanded its service on Vancouver Island. They took over Greyhound’s bus service into Port Alberni in 2006, and in 2015 when Greyhound abandoned service to Courtenay, Campbell River and Port Hardy, Tofino Bus applied for and was accepted to include those cities on its licence. The company has also taken over management of the Duncan bus terminal.

“It’s been easy for us to do because we’ve done it in stages,” Green said. “Of all the times we’ve had to grow, this one is the easiest because we’re already there. It will be seamless.”

Tofino bus began in 2002 as a van service catering to surfers, transporting them and their gear from Nanaimo and Victoria out to Tofino on Vancouver Island’s west coast. Green was a student at the University of Victoria at the time, in his mid-20s, and frustrated that Greyhound charged extra for surfboards for its already-expensive route out to Tofino. Green purchased an 11-seat passenger van and started running his own shuttle on weekends, between hostels in Victoria and Tofino.

“It was popular right away, even outside of the backpacking crowd,” Green told BC Business in an 2008 interview. Island people looking for a way to get up and down Vancouver Island also booked his shuttle service.

Since then, Green has expanded Tofino bus to include 31 buses and motor coaches based in numerous bus terminals. “We’re employing 45 people year-round across the Island. We’ve grown quite a bit from our origins,” Green said.

“We really have become an Island bus company.”

Tofino Bus serves 42 communities, and it’s that network that gives Green confidence he will succeed where Greyhound did not. “It’s that whole network that is going to make the Nanaimo–Victoria route quite sustainable for us,” he said.

editor@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

Saanich recognizes residents for their environmental efforts

Shelagh Levey won the Long-Term Achievement award for her leadership in environmental protection.

Officials worry of fire risk at homeless camp

Regina Park camp has grown to 77 tents

Man pleads not guilty in 1987 slayings of Victoria couple

William Talbott of SeaTac was arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court

BC Supreme Court rules in favour of Victoria’s plastic bag ban

Court dismisses a challenge by the Canadian Plastic Bag Association

More than 150 tremors hit Vancouver Island in last 24 hours

Seismologists monitor to see if pressure will be added to major fault

Homeless people living on ‘Surrey Strip’ move into modular housing

BC Housing says 160 homeless people are being moved into temporary Whalley suites from June 19 to 21

Busy Borden better, but still dangerous for cyclists

Cycling lane eases Lochside transfer but drivers still confused

Port of Prince Rupert names Shaun Stevenson as new CEO

Stevenson has worked for the port for 21 years as vice president of trade development

Senate officially passes Canada’s marijuana legalization bill

Bill C-45 now moves to royal assent, which is the final step in the legislative process

Fake attempted abduction not funny to B.C. neighbourhood residents

Two teenage boys won’t face criminal charges after scaring girl

Mosquitoes out in full force already? Blame the weather

But a B.C. mosquito expert says the heat wave will help keep the pests at bay

New GOP plan: Hold kids longer at border – but with parents

Move would ease rules that limit how much time minors can be held with their parents

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Without a big data strategy, Canadians at risk of being ‘data cows’

Presentation said artificial intelligence could give Facebook and Amazon even more power

Most Read