Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound in 2018, but it and other inter-city bus companies have been severely affected by COVID-19 travel restrictions. (Black Press files)

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound in 2018, but it and other inter-city bus companies have been severely affected by COVID-19 travel restrictions. (Black Press files)

B.C. bus lines, regional airports to get $27M in COVID-19 aid

Operating grants ‘a life raft’ for connecting communities

B.C. inter-city bus services and regional airports are getting assistance to maintain or restart services with an injection of cash from the province’s COVID-19 business recovery fund.

Bus services and airports can begin applying for a $27 million fund to keep them going until travel restrictions are eased later this year, Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said March 9. Bus services have a fund of $10.7 million available to them, and regional airports can apply to a $16.5 million fund to cover operating costs.

“Today’s announcement is the life-raft our sector has been looking for,” said John Wilson, president of Wilson’s Transportation, the Victoria-based bus company that picked up some of the inter-city routes that were dropped by Greyhound in 2018.

Premier John Horgan said regional airports are critical for air ambulance and other links to remote communities, and like bus services, they continue to face costs to stay functional.

“These operators have seen a drastic decline in their revenues as people have been staying in place, but they’ve stayed in place themselves,” Horgan said.

Heather Bell, chair of the B.C. Aviation Council, said regional airports generate almost all of their revenue by user fees, and have been among the hardest hit industries due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. But they still need to meet regulations and maintain their runways, fire safety response and terminal services for medical and other essential travel.

Bell said airports need to be ready for this summer when travel restrictions are likely to be eased, because when travel is allowed, “it’s not going to come back as a flood, it’s going to come back as a tsunami.”

RELATED: Island’s bus transportation link stopped by COVID-19

RELATED: Central Mountain Air adds service to West Kootenays


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

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

Just Posted

Vancouver Giants recorded three power-play goals Wednesday against the Victoria Royals. This is a new season-best for the G-Men. (Paige Bednorz/Special to Black Press Media)
Giants topple Victoria to hold on to top spot

In a 5-3 victory over the Royals on Wednesday night, several highlight-reel moments

Firefighters carry equipment from the scene of Monday’s Willoughby fire. The April 19, 2021 blaze turned the Alexander Square development at the corner of 208th Street and 80th Avenue to rubble. (Rob Wilton/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Willoughby Fire: the aftermath of the inferno in Langley

The scene remains active as investigators work to determine a cause

A ambulance drives past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
9 Lower Mainland hospitals to postpone non-urgent surgeries as hospitalizations surge

Record number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals across B.C.

Sgt. Frank Jang of IHIT spoke Thursday morning at the press conference about three recent gangland murders, including the killing of UN Gang member Todd Gouwenberg at the Langley Sportsplex on April 21. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Langley man gunned down at Sportsplex was long-time gang member

Todd Gouwenberg was affiliated with the UN Gang, police said

Abbotsford South MLA Bruce Banman’s riding includes Aldergrove. (Black Press Media files)
‘The budget B.C. was hoping for is not there’: Aldergrove’s MLA

Liberal MLA Bruce Banman said new provincial budget has little for residents

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

A Mercedes SUV is covered at a gas station in the Clayton area following a deadly shooting there on Sept. 28, 2019. Carlos Monteith, the man charged in the Clayton shooting, was sentenced April 22 on charges related to a different shooting in New West in November, 2019. (File photo)
Man gets 6.5 years in prison for shooting as he awaits trial for separate Cloverdale slaying

Carlos Nathaniel Monteith sentenced for possessing a prohibited weapon and discharging a firearm with intent

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

So far, 15 gang-related killings have occurred across Metro Vancouver in 2021. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Police report 15 gang-linked killings in Metro Vancouver in 2021 as tensions escalate

The situation has flared up again, as tensions dating back to 2008 between the UN gang and rivals including the Red Scorpions, Independent Soldiers and the Wolf Pack escalate

Nanaimo RCMP say a man was injured while pouring gunpowder on a backyard fire in Harewood on Wednesday, April 21. (File photo)
Nanaimo man hospitalized after pouring gunpowder onto backyard fire

RCMP investigating explosion in Harewood also came across a still for making alcohol on property

Most Read