Although at last there is light at the end of the tunnel, our Provincial health authorities are urging everybody to restrict travel even further until after the Victoria Day weekend. Specifically:
Not to travel for non-essential reasons, and
Not to travel outside of your home health authority area.
Island Express Bus will do all it can to cooperate with these objectives. Travel on Vancouver Island is not additionally restricted.
Mandatory face-masks, bus cleaning and sanitizing and restricted seating on board still apply, as they have for over a year. All passengers intending to board our vehicles are obliged to NOT do so if:
they have a fever or cough,
they have obvious breathing difficulties,
they have been refused boarding for any COVID related reason, or
they are the subject of a provincial health order that would restrict travelling on a bus.
All these factors will help everyone look after themselves, look after others who they may be in contact with at any time and will help this virus get beaten.
For the next five weeks we will be operating every day as we have done since the beginning of this pandemic. However our schedule is limited but it is there for everyone (subject to the above) to use, as and when needed. Hopefully by the end of May the rebound will be here.
Updated: July 10, 2020
British Columbia is opening again - slowly but surely.
On Vancouver Island more and more people are leaving their personal bubbles and venturing out. Travelling away from home even!
Island Express continues to provide bus services for those that need it, seven days/week, between:
Departure Bay and Victoria - twice daily
Departure Bay and Buckley Bay / Courtenay / Campbell River - 4 times daily
Buckley Bay and Duncan/Mill Bay/Victoria - once daily
Buckley Bay and Courtenay / Little River ( serving Powell River) / Campbell River - once daily
On board our buses wearing a protective face mask is still mandatory, and will be for the foreseeable future; and we continue to clean and disinfect all hard surfaces that can be touched by the passengers or driver, at the beginning of every bus trip.
We also continue to offer our best iPOINTS deal ever - multiples of $55.00 worth of travel for $30.00 - better than a 45% discount! This offer will not last so take advantage of it before it's gone - iPOINTS do not expire for 7 years!
Now we are adding one more thing: FAREDEAL! is back.
Effective July 17th between Departure Bay and Courtenay on one bus trip/day in each direction, all online fares are $19.99 and all cash standby fares are just $20.00 payable to the driver as usual.
We are doing what we can to help our customers travel as safely, as comfortably and at the best possible price as is possible.
Enjoy the summer!
Updated: June 23, 2020
A COVID-19 re-cap.
So we can reflect on how quickly COVID-19 impacted our travel habits, here are some dates associated with the coronavirus relevant to Island Express Bus.
January 25, 2020 - First confirmed case in Canada
January 28, 2020 - First confirmed case in BC
March 11, 2020 - First confirmed case on Vancouver Island
March 17, 2020 - VI Connector suspends 100% of intercity bus service on Vancouver Island
March 17, 2020 - Island Express slashes seat capacity by 65% due plummeting demand
March 19, 2020 - Island Express cuts a further 20% of seat capacity - demand evaporating
April 4, 2020 - BC Ferries suspends all Departure Bay / Horseshoe Bay ferry sailings
April 6, 2020 - Island Express Bus introduces a daily bus service to Duke Point
April, 2020 - Island Express revenues 94% below original forecast. Skeleton service operated daily
May 10, 2020 - Island Express doubles seat capacity, but still 75% below normal
May 2020 - Island Express revenues 89% below original forecast. Daily skeleton service continues
June 3, 2020 - BC Ferries resumes limited Departure Bay / Horseshoe Bay ferry service
June 3, 2020 - Island Express ceases Duke Point service and reverts to Departure Bay
June 19, 2020 - BC Ferries adds additional Departure Bay / Horseshoe Bay ferry sailings
June 19, 2020 - Island Express adds additional seat capacity
June 2020 - Island Express revenues expected to be 81% below original forecast
July 1, 2020 - BC Ferries plans additional Departure Bay / Horseshoe Bay ferry sailings
July 1, 2020 - Island Express Bus plans additional seat capacity, now back to 62% of original plan
Forecasting more than a few days ahead has become a waste of time as nobody really knows what tomorrow will bring, albeit we all hope and work toward the elimination of the virus, ongoing improvement in the quality of our daily lives, and of course the economy.
Meanwhile, Island Express will continue to react to demand by the travelling public for intercity bus seats on Vancouver Island by providing the seat capacity needed.
Additionally, we continue to enforce our policy of mandatory protective face mask use in all our vehicles (our drivers provide a free face mask to anybody who wants one), and we continue to clean and disinfect all hard surfaces that can be touched by the passengers or driver, at the beginning of every bus trip.
We have temporarily suspended the ability for booked passengers to also book the front seat of the bus next to the driver, and have authorized our drivers to block off this seat at their discretion.
Finally, since May 9, 2020 we have restricted bookings to 75% of vehicle seat capacity (between March 17th and May 8th demand was so limited that booking restrictions were not needed). After extensive canvassing of our passengers and drivers, on July 1st we will increase this seat availabilty to 92 -95% of vehicle capacity.
We continue to offer our best iPOINTS deal ever - $55.00 worth of travel for $30.00 - better than a 45% discount!
iPOINTS don't expire for 7 years so buy as many $30.00 packages as you wish.
Doing this will help Island Express weather the pandemic storm and help you save a lot of money.
"You scratch our back and we'll scratch yours!"
Updated: June 9, 2020
Please will all Island Express Bus passengers take note of the following important BC Ferries policy change re face masks:
Insofar as Island Express passengers are concerned, the new policy covers Departure Bay / Horseshoe Bay, Little River / Westview and Heriot Bay / Whaletown ferry sailings.
"BC Ferries will require all passengers to bring a face covering on sailings that are 30 minutes or longer and wear it when physical distancing protocols cannot be met.
The policy shift comes from new guidance provided by Transport Canada. The face covering, which can be a mask, scarf or another piece of material, must cover a traveller's mouth and nose.
The policy goes into effect on Monday June 15
Passengers will be asked to confirm they have a face covering and are willing to wear it when necessary.
If a passenger answers 'no', or fails to answer, they will be unable to travel. Customers must bring their own face coverings as BC Ferries will not be supplying them.
N.B. As defined by the Public Health Agency of Canada, a face covering should fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops, be made of at least two layers of tightly-woven material fabric (such as cotton or linen) and be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose and mouth."
Island Express offers all their passengers a free protective (surgical level) face mask before boarding the bus, whether or not they have their own. The Island Express provided mask satisfies the conditions of the Public Health Agency of Canada shown above and therefore also satisfies the requirements of BC Ferries.
Wearing a mask on our buses is mandatory and has been since May 9, 2020.
Updated: June 6, 2020
On June 3rd BC Ferries resumed Departure Bay / Horseshoe Bay ferry service, albeit with just 4 round trip sailings daily. On the same date Island Express Bus resumed bus service to / from the Departure Bay ferry terminal, also with significantly reduced frequency.
These changes are a good indication that the coronavirus on Vancouver Island (and elsewhere) is beginning to lose some of it's sting.
Even though some people are beginning to travel and to venture away from home, we are still being just as vigilant regarding the possibility of infection. Wearing a protective mask in our vehicles continues to be mandatory; if you don't have your own, or even if you do, we'll give you one for free before you board the bus. Further, at the end of each trip, our drivers wipe down and disinfect all hard surfaces that can be touched by passengers. We continue to take bookings only to a maximum of 75% of vehicle capacity.
As is customary everywhere, we ask all our passengers not to present themselves for boarding if they display any symptoms that another person might construe as being indicative of illness, and particularly of COVID-19.
We are now getting close to the typical peak summer travel season of July and August. Nobody knows today how it will look. However, we will be ready to add seats at short notice as soon as the need arises. Time will tell!
Over the past 4 weeks or so, many of our passengers have been smart enough to notice we have been offering a fantastic discount deal - better than 45% in fact. Our 'Look forward to Summer, and SAVE!' iPOINTS package gives you $55.00 worth of travel for just thirty bucks, which is why many have been buying multiple packages so they can keep on saving long after this offer is withdrawn (iPOINTS purchased don't expire for seven years). It's a deal which may not last too long, so don't wait, buy now!
Our new Comox Little River to / from Victoria daily service is exceeding our expectations and is already proving to be popular with passengers wishing to travel between Powell River and Victoria. If you've used this service which connects conveniently in both directions with BC Ferries sailings, please tell your friends because travelling to Victoria has suddenly become very quick and easy.
Updated: May 6, 2020
We continue to provide a skeleton bus service every day, and we continue to serve the Duke Point ferry terminal while Departure Bay is closed.
In addition, on May 10, 2020 we will be commencing bus service every day at the Little River ferry terminal in Comox. Residents of Powell River who wish or need to travel by bus to or from Victoria will now have a fast, easy and inexpensive way to do it. Currently there is no intercity bus service on the Sunshine Coast and we are hopeful this new service will be well received. It is planned for year-round operation.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in British Columbia our drivers have been diligently cleaning and disinfecting all hard surfaces inside the bus (e.g. handles, seat belt buckles, etc.) at the end of every trip before boarding new passengers.
Effective May 9th, 2020 we will be introducing two additional measures related to the health and safety of our passengers and drivers:
The use of protective face masks by everybody on the bus will be mandatory. Our drivers will offer a free disposable face mask to every passenger prior to boarding; those passengers that do not already have their own will be asked to use the mask supplied by us, although everybody is welcome to have one.
Our buses will be bookable to only 75% of seat capacity, maximum. Whether or not to board any walk-up passengers over this limit will be at the sole discretion of the driver based on the distribution of booked passengers already on the bus.
We wish to thank all those passengers who have expressed heartwarming sentiments in the past 6 weeks regarding the fact Island Express is operating every day, and is providing an essential service for those who must travel. We reassure everybody we will continue to do it. Like everybody else, we look forward to better times ahead.
For the interest of those who support our business in the long term we invite you to login to your Island Express online account, click on the iPOINTS logo (buy iPOINTS and save) and purchase $55.00 worth of travel for $30.00 - this is better than a 45% discount! The iPOINTS will not expire for 7 years so buy as many of these $55.00 packages for $30.00 each as you think you can use in the future. This offer will be withdrawn as we all come out of the COVID-19 period of restrictions.
Updated: April 4, 2020
Please note effective April 4th, 2020, BC Ferries has suspended Departure Bay/Horseshoe Bay ferry service until further notice; Click Here for details
For this reason, Island Express Bus is now serving the Duke Point Ferry Terminal instead, also until further notice. Reduced frequency ferry service between Duke Point and Tsawwassen is Available Here.
Our Departure Bay stop is moved to just outside the ferry terminal onto Stewart Avenue as the terminal is closed.
Besides our regular services we are also now providing bus service between Departure Bay and Duke Point until further notice.
Please Click Here for schedule, price and availability details.
Updated: April 3, 2020
Details of the bus services we offer on any specific date can only be found on our website. This is true of normal times and abnormal, such as during the current coronavirus COVID-19 crisis :
The only way to ensure you get the space you want is to book it online.
Similarly, the only way to cancel the booked space you no longer need is to cancel it online.
Both must be done before midnight on the day before travel.
During the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis all our staff except for a handful of drivers are laid off. At this time our only priority is to reliably provide a skeleton bus service for those who must travel and who have no other means to do so. We fully realize that provincial health orders could change this without notice.
We are therefore unable to deal with emailed comments, questions or requests at this time as there are no staff available to do it. We apologise if this causes inconvenience.
We are doing everything necessary to be prepared for resumption of all normal business activity once the crisis is over, whenever that may be. Your comments, questions and requests will be addressed at that time.