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Islandlink announces new Nanaimo-Tofino bus service this winter

The new bus service between Nanaimo and Tofino will begin Jan. 30 and run three times a week
The new bus service between Nanaimo and Tofino will also serve people travelling to Port Alberni and Ucluelet. (Westerly file photo)

Islandlink will start offering bus service between Nanaimo and Tofino three times a week starting on January 30.

“We’ve looked at the numbers, and with our 15-passenger vehicles, we’re able to add this service,” said Phillip Morgan, owner of Islandlink, in a Jan. 12 press release.

The new Nanaimo-Tofino route will run in both directions between the Departure Bay Ferry Terminal and Tofino, serving intermediate points including Port Alberni and Ucluelet. The new service will pick up in Tofino, in Ucluelet (next to the Aquarium) and in Port Alberni, then drop off in Departure Bay, Nanaimo (return trip stops in reverse order). Riders can then connect with the bus headed south to Duncan, Mill Bay and Victoria.

Effective May 18, 2023, Islandlink will increase the Nanaimo-Tofino route frequency to a daily service, and will operate the route year-round.

Islandlink already serves the Victoria – Nanaimo route five times a day.

“Providing bus service during the COVID-19 pandemic was challenging for our sector,” adds Morgan. “But, with our track record of serving Vancouver Island continuously for nearly 25 years, including during the pandemic, when we missed only two days of service, we are pleased to be able to now provide this same level of reliability to Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino.”

The announcement will bring a sigh a relief to West Coasters. Last week, Wilson’s Transportation cancelled service to Tofino-Ucluelet until May citing “lower-than-average ridership and high operating costs.”

READ: Officials scramble for solutions as Tofino-Ucluelet loses bus service

For information on fares, schedules and availability, and to make or cancel bookings, visit the Islandlink website at Bookings can be made online until midnight of the day before travel. Passengers who are unable or who do not wish to book online, can pay their cash fare to the driver, space permitting.

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