As of April 2, public buses will run along Vancouver Island’s west coast, from Hitacu to Tofino, seven days a week, from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.ACRD map

Tofino, BC – On April 2, the communities of Hitacu, Ucluelet, Tofino, Esowista, Ty-Histanis, and Tofino will be connected through a long-anticipated year-round transit service.

“The ACRD is excited that we can finally offer this essential service to residents on the west coast,” said John Jack, chairperson for the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD), in a press release.  “For too long reliable public transit has been a challenge for people as they struggled to get back and forth to work, school, recreational activities, appointments, or shopping. This service will fill that void, and we look forward to connecting the west coast.”

The West Coast Transit service, administered through the ACRD and operated by Pacific Western Transportation, will run seven days a week, except for statutory holidays. The system is primarily cashless, but trips can be paid for through the Token Transit app.

Students with an ID card and children under 12 ride for free, while a singl- ride pass is $5.50, a day pass is $10, 10-ride paper pass is $50, and a monthly pass is $100. The 10-ride passes can be purchased at Tofino and Ucluelet Co-op grocery stores.

The West Coast Transit System opens up opportunities for residents and businesses that would not otherwise be available without access to transportation, said Eddie Kunderman, operations manager at the ACRD. This includes better access to groceries, recreation, and employment opportunities.

“This was the ACRD really identifying an interim service model to ensure that the service was ready for the residents as soon as possible,” said Kunderman. “I think it will reduce the strain on households that will allow them to make feasible transportation plans.”

“This has been something that’s been flagged for a while,” added Kunderman.

For Tla-o-qui-aht, their communities of Ty-Histanis and Esowista are located roughly 15 kilometres from Tofino’s downtown.

“A lot of our members don’t have cars or access to cars,” said Jim Chisholm, Tla-o-qui-aht’s tribal administrator. “So I think it’s a tremendous thing [and] I think it’ll open up avenues for a lot of our members to gain employment or to – if they’re currently employed – I think it’ll be a bonus for them.”

Chisholm notes that members will receive greater access togrocery stores, outside services, and safe transportation with this new bus service.

“We see some of our members hitchhiking or trying to get family members to give them rides back and forth,” said Chisholm. “I think it will give them a sense of independence.”

“I think it’s a really positive thing for our members,” he added.

The West Coast Transit system is an interim year-round service, in lieu of BC Transit’s presence in the area. But Kunderman hopes that with provincial funding, BC Transit will come on board to collaborate with the ACRD on the transit service.

“I think it’s a great start,” said Kunderman. “I think it’s really going to increase the opportunities.”

He hopes that in the coming years, the scheduled service hours can extend beyond 6:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. with an increase in the number of round trips. 

“It’s really been a team effort to get the service up and running,” said Kunderman of the work from the districts of Ucluelet and Tofino, alongside Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ, Toquaht, and Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations. 

To find more information, including bus stop location and times, visit West Coast Transit Service (acrd.bc.ca)

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As of April 2, public buses will run along Vancouver Island’s west coast, from Hitacu to Tofino, seven days a week, from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

By Alexandra Mehl, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 27, 2024 at 15:33

This item reprinted with permission from   Ha-Shilth-Sa   Port Albernit, British Columbia

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