A daily shuttle bus service running between Port McNeill and Telegraph Cove will continue under new ownership.
It was originally launched by Stubbs Island Whale Watching as a pilot project, and ran for two weeks, before changing ownership to Waivin Flags Taxis.
“We realized there was a gap in the transportation system between Port McNeill and Telegraph Cove,” said Sarah Nicholson of Stubbs Island Whale Watching, when the service first launched under their operation.
Nicholson said she heard daily mention of transportation difficulties from her own staff and many of the tourism business in the area.
She wanted to offer the service to “enhance the experience for visitors to the North Island and allow them the chance to experience everything the North Island has to offer.”
Nicholson continued to explain, “maybe visitors to Telegraph Cove want to catch the ferry and explore Alert Bay and Sointula or look around Port McNeil and this gives them the opportunity to do so.”
She said Stubbs suspended operation of the service when Waivin Flags Taxis decided to offer a regular daily service between Port McNeill and Telegraph Cove.
“With the introduction of an alternative shuttle service being provided by a local company whose core business is year round transportation, the identified gap appears to now be filled, so it makes no sense for us to continue,” said Nicholson in a July 17 press release.
“There is a strong belief within the tourism industry that it is only through active collaboration with all the stakeholders working together that collectively we grow,” added Nicholson.
“This way it will be more cost efficient to get there on our schedule,” said Waivin Flags Taxis owner Paige Quanash. Waivin Flags Taxis already offers a pre-booked shuttle and provides taxi services in Port McNeill.
“We are excited about it because it’s a more economical option for people to get there. It’s getting people to know about us that is going to be the issue,” added Quanash. “I’m hoping it goes well so we can continue next year.”
Nicholson noted a shuttle bus service has the potential to benefit North Island residents as well.
“We hope it can help youngsters from Port McNeill who don’t have transportation to get seasonal work in the cove, or help Port McNeill residents get to the cove to enjoy a glass of wine and meal and get home safely. ”
Quanash said Waivin Flags Taxis will offer three trips a day between Telegraph Cove and Port McNeill to take place in the morning, afternoon, and evening.
“If we look at the shuttle service as an opportunity instead of competition, we can form partnerships for the promotion of our area that will be mutually beneficial,” said Port McNeill Chamber of Commerce President Gabby Wickstrom, when asked to comment on the new service.
Quanash said for more information on scheduled departure times and pick up locations those interested can call Waivin Flags Taxis at 250-230-7655.