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 Police Department. (Black Press Media files)
Abbotsford man named as victim of fatal weekend shooting in Vancouver

Harpreet Dhaliwal, 31, killed outside of Cardero’s restaurant in Coal Harbour

Joudelie King wants to get out and live life to the fullest, but there are places she can’t go because they don’t meet her accessibility needs. (submitted photo)
New online tool provides accessibility map for people with disabilities

The myCommunity BC map provides accessibility info for nearly 1,000 locations in the province

B.C. Agriculture in the Classroom is offering free school tours of The Pencil Patch learning garden in Abbotsford in April, May and June.
Agriculture in the Classroom offers free school tours at learning garden

The Pencil Patch in Abbotsford provides 15 outdoor learning stations

Alisa Gusakova was one of two Grade 12 Chilliwack students who received a $5,000 Horatio Alger Canadian Scholarship earlier this year. Now, a fundraiser has been created for the teen after her mother was killed. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Fundraiser launched for daughter of Chilliwack woman killed

Money raised will help Chilliwack teen attend UFV to earn business degree

Chilliwack Search and Rescue volunteers say that a call on April 17 on Vedder Mountain was affected by bikers who rode through the rescue site, throwing rocks onto members and the patient. (Chilliwack Search and Rescue image)
Chilliwack Search and Rescue team, and patient, sprayed with rocks and dirt during rescue

Volunteer crew speaks out after riders on Vedder Mountain show no courtesy at accident scene

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

New figures show Canadian housing prices outpacing those in other developed countries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Canadian housing prices fastest rising in the world

Relative to 2000, housing prices have risen by a factor of more than 2.5

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
80-million-year-old turtle find on B.C. river exciting fossil hunters

Remains of two-foot creature of undetermined species will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Large gatherings of people at Kitsilano Beach on Saturday, April 17, 2021. (Walter Wells/Twitter)
Vancouver police to reassess enforcement of COVID rules at outdoor parties: mayor

No tickets were given out for a large outdoor party at Kitsilano Beach

British Columbia’s provincial flag flies in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Wildfire fanned by winds near Merritt prompts evacuation alert

BC Wildfire Service says the suspected human-caused blaze was fanned by winds

The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Rogers investigating after wireless customers complain of widespread outage

According to Down Detector, problems are being reported in most major Canadian cities

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
National fitness group condemns unlicensed Kelowna gym’s anti-vaccine policy

The Fitness Industry Council of Canada says Flow Academy is shining a negative light on the industry

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Nothing stopping provinces from offering AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults: Hajdu

Health Canada has licensed the AstraZeneca shot for use in people over the age of 18

Most Read