Wilson’s on board with BC Ferries bus run

Saanich company takes over service connecting Victoria and Vancouver

Andrew Wilson

As of Monday, Wilson’s Transportation of Saanich is operating the BC Ferries Connector, a new name for the long-running coach line bus service that connects downtown Victoria to downtown Vancouver via BC Ferries’ Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route.

Wilson’s won the contract in the fall of 2015, and has since added six buses to cover the winter schedule, according to Wilson’s general manager Joe Jansen.

The Connector is starting with a core service of three sailings per day, each way, until April 30. At that time Wilson’s will up the service for the busier May to September season as needed. The BC Ferries Connector is based out of the same 700 Douglas St. office previously occupied by the Pacific Coach Lines’ CoastWater service it’s replacing.

It’s good news for the employees of Wilson’s, as it brings much-needed winter work to the seasonally based tourism demands.

“This provides more stability for our drivers, as people are aware the summer season is peak season,” Jansen said. “We actually have a core of drivers who like driving just in the summer, and head south for winter, but some are here year round, and this provides work for them.”

The additional contract with B.C. Ferries means more buses for the Wilson’s yard on Glanford Avenue, with a couple of buses parked on the Vancouver side. The Glanford office and yard is home to almost 100 drivers based out of there and about 130 buses of various types. Wilson’s also runs highway coaches, school buses, mini-coaches and the vintage English-style double-deckers downtown.

“We do have a large pool of drivers but we will end up with more, as we already hired a couple new drivers in Vancouver to handle that side,” Jansen said. “Beyond that we’ll hire as the frequency increases over the summer.”

It’s the second expansion for Wilson’s by way of local contracts in two years as Wilson’s recently took over the YYJ Airporter shuttle service, which created 15 new jobs.

It’s an interesting year for Victoria to Vancouver tourism as two new foot-passenger services have been announced which will run harbour to harbour from Victoria to Vancouver. After decades without a foot passenger ferry service, Australian company Riverside Marine and the Clipper will now compete.

“We were aware of the Australian proposition, which was originally portrayed as a higher-end tourism product, verses a regular commuter-style service with frequency,” Jansen said.

Jansen added it will likely be a higher price point for Riverside Marine and the Clipper as they will be primarily focused on tourist dollars. He doesn’t expect long-term effects to the BC Ferries Connector.

“We think the frequency BC Ferries offers in conjunction with ours, from downtown to downtown, is a service people will be interested in, we’ll make whatever improvements we can,” Jansen said.

The price of a one-way trip on the Connector from the Victoria terminal at 700 Douglas St. to Vancouver’s Pacific Central Station is $63.90 with tax and the BC Ferries pass included, or $127.80 round trip, though prices vary depending on usage.

 

Visit Wilson’s new bcfconnector.com website for service times.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria dealer sells Batmobile replica at Arizona auction

Tim Quocksister sells Batmobile replica for $165,000 US at auction in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Eight people arrested on Pandora Avenue after enforcement order issued

Those living in homeless camps were given until May 20 to move indoors

Victoria society purchases addiction recovery home after year of fundraising

Umbrella Society’s Foundation House is a second stage house for men in active recovery

Colwood eyes upgrades to recreation area near Lookout Lake Dam

Upgrades to dam estimated to be complete before end of year

When crisis hits: How West Shore RCMP have dealt with the pandemic

More front-line officers on road in mobile offices

VIDEO: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Cullen commission into money laundering in British Columbia resumes today

Inquiry was called amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel real estate, luxury car and gambling

Bike shops busier than ever, but owners worry about stock supply issues

Uptick in cyclists brings new challenges for shops

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

Most Read