tofino bus / beach bus - the green alternative

Tofino Bus / Beach Bus – the Green alternative

by Jan Brubacher, Tofino


It used to be the S.S. Maquinna that brought travellers to the area—now we have boats, planes, cars, motorcycles, RV’s, bicycles, and buses doing the trek to the westcoast.

The modes of transport keep evolving as does the popularity of this westcoast village. More, more, more. More travellers, more surfers, more and more cars. How will they get here and where will they park? Maybe they won’t. Maybe they will take the bus.

In the not so distant past, the prospect of taking “the” bus brought silent screams of “Oh no—not the bus!” Too long, too many stops. Let me out!”

Dylan Green owner/operator of the Tofino Bus saw the potential of offering an alternate form of public transport in the form of an express bus.

“ The basis of the idea was to provide bus travel that was comparable to driving your own car. I wanted to give people the option to not drive. Now with the connection to the Harbour Link you can get to Vancouver faster then if you had your own car.” And, it is easy to bring a surfboard or a bike—and, there is a package price that makes it reasonable!

The Tofino Bus first run, in June 2002, was from Victoria to Tofino. There was a good response right from the start with the backpacking, hostel going, traveller. At the beginning, the Tofino Bus was more of a hostel shuttle—and then things changed. Last year the Tofino Bus ran through the winter and more locals tried it and recommended it to others. This summer was busy and a transition was made—the Tofino Bus is no longer only a backpacker bus.

There are a lot of people using the Tofino Bus and there will be more to come and more room. The plan is to move out of vans to buses. The vans are full to capacity and one must make reservations to ensure a place. With buses there would hopefully be room for drop-ins.

Federal Minister of Environment David Anderson and Dylan Green


The first bus was a regular gas fuelled vehicle. Then, Dylan realized he could run a diesel bus on biodiesel—a refined vegetable oil. So now all the Tofino Buses run on 75% traditional fuel and 25% biodiesel. The biodiesel, imported from the USA, is made from virgin oils (the sort you would buy from the grocery store) that are then processed to make into biodiesel. “The aim is to run all the buses on 100% biodiesel and the end goal is to source the biodiesel from waste oil from the restaurants of Tofino. 100% local. In this scenario, “the ecological footprint would be less” says Mr. Green (it is his real name.)

This summer saw the start of the Beach Bus, the natural progression in carless travel. The Tofino Bus allowed people to get here without a car, but then they needed to get around—and this is what the Beach Bus does. It provides service, gear and all, from Tofino to Ucluelet and points in between like Long Beach, Cox Bay and Tofino airport.

And, does it well. The drivers are friendly (they wave!) and drive the speed limit (even on the Chesterman Beach road!)

Yep, the Tofino Bus, Beach Bus combo is a good thing.

Multitalented and creative, Jan Brubacher writes films, creates jewelry and costumes, and convincingly plays the role of mother. For more information on the Tofino Bus visit or book your ticket online.
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Tofino Bus and Beach bus offer alternative transportation to Tofino and connect Tofino with Ucluelet, Long Beach, Cox Bay and Chesterman beach in Tofino.

tofino time november 2004

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