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Vancouver Island Connector operations to remain suspended due to continued travel restrictions

Last Updated Dec 10, 2020 at 12:53 am PST

(Courtesy facebook.com/tofinobus/photos)

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — Getting from the Ferry Terminals up and down Vancouver Island is going to be that much more difficult this holiday season.

The Wilson’s Group, which operates the Vancouver Island Connector, has extended the cancellation of its services until at least Jan. 9.

The connector provides shuttle bus services up the Island, as well as to Tofino, from the Ferry Terminals.

Services between the Lower Mainland and Whistler will also be affected.

After much consideration we have made the difficult decision to suspend service until January 9th, 2021. We understand…

Posted by Vancouver Island Connector & Tofino Bus onĀ Wednesday, December 9, 2020

CEO John Wilson confirmed with NEWS 1130 says the current travel restrictions from B.C.’s health officials are the reason and says it’s having a significant impact on his company.

“It’s been devastating for our company. Unfortunately for those who need to travel on Vancouver Island from Vancouver to Victoria, it limits their options. But we had no choice in the matter given the restrictions and just for survival as a company,” he explains.

The company had intended to resume its operations on Thursday, after being shut down the last couple of weeks.

Wilson adds the company has had to lay off about 75 per cent of its staff and the company is down about 95 per cent in total revenue year over year.

“The pandemic has hit our operation in any way imaginable. Not just with tourism but obviously our intercity operations for travel … but also our charter operations and school bus operations because of group gatherings and sporting events all been cancelled.”

The company normally employs around 300 people during normal operations.

But with the vaccine on its way to the province Wilson says he hopes operations will resemble a form of normality.

Although Wilson says the local and provincial governments haven’t been very responsive with the tourism or motor coach sector and without help, he says he is fearful the company and many others “will be looking very bleak.”

“When revenues are stripped from 95 per cent and really little to no notice — to no one’s fault — but it’s pretty hard to survive,” he says.