A new bus service between the Little River ferry terminal in Comox and Victoria will operate daily, year-round.
Vancouver Island intercity bus operator Island Express Bus will provide the service.
Island Express owner Phillip Morgan said the company frequently receives requests from Powell River residents for such a service because it is the obvious way to get to and from Victoria. He said he realizes current demand will be limited due to coronavirus restrictions but believes it is never too soon to start.
“Island Express Bus is the only intercity service on the Island not to have shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic; we currently provide a skeleton schedule every day because there are always some people who must travel,” said Morgan. “This will be no less true for Powell River residents wishing to travel to or from Victoria.”
The bus departs Little River every morning at 9:50 am, meeting the first sailing of the day from Westview. The trip to Victoria takes three and a half hours, arriving at the Victoria Conference Centre (VCC) downtown at 1:20 pm.
The return trip from Victoria departs the VCC at 2:20 pm, arriving at Little River at 5:45 pm, allowing for a good ferry connection back to Westview.
Morgan said Island Express is diligent with respect to cleaning inside of the buses after every trip before new passengers board. All hard surfaces that can be touched by passengers are disinfected. In addition, he said every passenger is provided with a free disposable face mask as wearing a mask in the bus is mandatory.
“Wearing your own mask instead is equally acceptable,” said Morgan.
Another temporary measure taken by the bus line to help safeguard the health of passengers and drivers during the pandemic is that seats are only bookable to 75 per cent of total capacity.
“Boarding anybody beyond this limit is at the sole discretion of the driver based on the distribution of booked passengers already on the bus,” said Morgan.
According to Morgan, once pandemic travel restrictions are eased, and once people start returning to a more normal way of life, his company will add service between Little River and the Departure Bay ferry terminal in Nanaimo. This will provide an option for those wishing to travel to the Lower Mainland, he added.