Wilson’s extends reach with purchase of Tofino Bus

The Wilson family, which founded and owns Wilson’s Transportation, has acquired the Tofino Bus Company in a move that will extend the Wilson reach further around the province.

Less than two weeks after stepping in to cover some of the routes abandoned by Greyhound Canada on B.C.’s mainland, Wilson’s has expanded its portfolio to include freight and passenger service to the west coast of Vancouver Island, the mid-Island and north Island.

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While Tofino Bus will be owned by the Wilson family rather than Wilson’s Transportation, it does align well with Wilson’s other services, said Samantha Wilson.

“It connects well with our B.C. Ferries Connector product and it certainly connects well with our new Greyhound runs we took over as well,” she said. “We think it aligns well with the services we already provide and we think it will be a good fit.”

Wilson suggested they will capitalize on being able to market the company as being a one-stop shop to get people all over the province.

Wilson’s is the Island’s largest charter transportation company with about 140 vehicles on the road.

On top of the charter business, Wilson’s operates Gray Line Sightseeing in Victoria, an airport shuttle service in Victoria, the B.C. Ferries Connector and, as of this month, twice-daily runs from Vancouver to Kelowna and Vancouver to Kamloops.

Wilson said the intention is to run Tofino Bus as-is and see how the business works with the company’s other services.

“We don’t plan on making any immediate changes,” she said, adding that includes the name. “They have definitely created a good name for themselves. They are great people who have done a great job and now are ready to align with us and see how we can work together.”

Tofino Bus, which started in 2002 as an inter-city bus and charter service, expanded in 2015 to include service around the Island, and added a freight service in partnership with Greyhound to ship packages on and off the Island.

The company’s 41 employees will remain in place as will owner Dylan Green. “John Wilson was one of the first industry partners I met when I started Tofino Bus 16 years ago,” said Green.

“I am excited John and his family are part of this new ownership as I know our staff and customers will be in good hands,” he said. “We will be part of a larger group that will help us grow passenger- bus services and expand our freight network on Vancouver Island, to the Mainland, and beyond.”

Green said being part of Wilson’s will offer Tofino Bus more resources and support to allow for growth.

“We are looking to the future and how this opportunity will create more jobs, growth and continued service to Vancouver Island, the mainland and interior of B.C.,” added John Wilson, chief executive of the Wilson’s Group.

The full takeover of Tofino Bus will happen Nov. 15.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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