Eight iconic Wilson’s Transportation and Gray Line Sightseeing Victoria double decker buses which have been trundling around Victoria for decades — including a Leyland Routemaster which was built in 1959 — are about to make way for a new generation. This week marks the end of service for the vintage models, which will be replaced by a fleet of fuel efficient, quieter and more comfortable Alexander Dennis Enviro 400s. Beginning this Saturday, all future tours will be on the new buses — but the transition doesn’t mean the much-loved buses from yesteryear will be disappearing forever.
“It’s time to embrace a new generation and do our part as good corporate citizens in our hometown,” says Wilson’s Group Of Companies President and CEO John Wilson. “We loved those old buses, and know that many people who rode them did as well. They have a fascinating charm from playing an important role in transportation history, which is why we’re happy to preserve at least some of them for ceremonial functions,” Wilson says, adding the old buses could be used in parades or parked as displays during special events. Other buses will be made available to interested collectors from around the world.
“We know many visitors love the experience of touring the city in a double decker, and we are happy that can now be done in vehicles that meet the standards that today’s travellers expect,” says Paul Nursey, President and CEO of Tourism Victoria. “Wilson’s is making a new investment of several millions of dollars in cleaner transportation. This is a tremendous vote of confidence in the financial and environmental sustainability of our destination.”
The Enviro 400 buses meet the highest standard for allowable emissions. “It’s great to see a local business like Wilson’s taking a leadership role, moving us to a clean energy future,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “The changes that Wilson’s is making are in line with the City’s Climate Leadership Plan of 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050.”
The Wilson’s Group is Vancouver Island’s largest transportation company and has been serving the region since 1962.