A regulatory tribunal has put the brakes on a Vancouver Island-based bus company’s plans to offer service between Nanaimo and Victoria.
The Passenger Transportation Board independent tribunal has rejected Wilson’s Transportation Ltd.’s application to begin operating daily round-trip bus service between Vancouver Island’s two largest cities.
Wilson’s application came after Greyhound Canada announced earlier last summer that it planned to discontinue its Nanaimo-Victoria route. Currently Island Link Bus, Tofino Bus and B.C. Transit provide service along the Nanaimo-Victoria corridor.
In a decision posted on the PTB’s website, the tribunal ruled that there wasn’t enough public demand to warrant Wilson’s taking over the route, explaining that there is “no strong evidence” that existing services are deficient and not meeting public demand.
According to the tribunal, Wilson’s application had argued that there is enough demand from residents and tourists to warrant service, that Greyhound’s buses are older and outdated while their buses are more modern and that Nanaimo is a growing market. The company also stated that once Island Ferries becomes operational, it would be the ferry’s official transportation provider.
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Jan Broocke, director with the tribunal, said the board thoroughly examines all applications it receives and ultimately makes an evidence-based decision. She said Wilson’s failed to provide any concrete evidence indicating a strong demand for its proposed route.
“Applicants must demonstrate that there is public need for the service they want to provide and in this case the board reviewed the evidence and determined that it did not show potential passengers using the service or that other services in the area were lacking,” she said.
Broocke said the tribunal is still reviewing Greyhound’s application for discontinuation of the route but did not provide a date for when a decision would be announced.
Stuart Kendrick, senior vice-president, Greyhound Canada, said an e-mailed statement to the News Bulletin that the Nanaimo-to-Victoria service is still operating as normal while the company awaits a ruling from the PTB.
“Greyhound’s focus remains on serving customers as we wait for the board’s decision,” he said.
Wilson’s was unable to be reached for comment prior to deadline.