B.C. Transportation Minister Claire Trevena says a majority of the province will be covered by bus service after Greyhound “abandons” the province on October 31. The province announced on Monday that 83 per cent of the routes will be covered by other private operators by year’s end.
“They obviously believe by providing better service than Greyhound they can make it work,” said Trevena. “There is no public money going to these private companies that have come forward to provide service on these routes.”
The provincial government started fast-tracking applications for bus service after Greyhound announced it was discontinuing service in Western Canada.
Operators did not step up to fill eight sections of route that Greyhound was operating. Those routes are Cache Creek to Kamloops, Kamloops to Valemount, Valemount to the B.C.-Alberta border, Dawson Creek to the B.C.-Alberta border, Salmo to Creston, Cranbrook to the B.C.-Alberta border, Fort Nelson to the B.C.-Yukon border and Hope to Princeton.
The government says it is working to fill the remaining gaps in service.
“At this point all options are on the table. We are going to be working with communities and working with the Passenger Transportation Board and obviously hoping that the private sector will come in,” Trevena said.
As for the price of tickets, Trevena says they will be “affordable” but that the actual prices are set by the operator. Bus companies do not have to provide price ranges for the Passenger Transportation Board as part of the application process.
WATCH HERE: New bus service to take over in B.C. from Greyhound
One of the routes will provide bus service from Vancouver all the way to Winnipeg. The Passenger Transportation Board has ensured that the bus operators meet provincial standards and have passed safety checks.
“What we did to fast-track the applications under this process is focus mostly on applicants’ fitness and capability because we knew that there was a public need with Greyhound pulling out,” said Catharine Read, Passenger Transportation Board chair. “We looked at their qualifications and safety record.”
WATCH HERE: Impact of Greyhound ceasing Western Canada services
The province also launched BC Bus North earlier this year to cover the majority of northern routes that Greyhound eliminated. The cost is $35 to $45 per trip, with two round-trips per week between Prince Rupert and Prince George, Prince George and Valemount, and Prince George to Dawson Creek/Fort St. John.