Four bus companies approved to serve Okanagan as Greyhound leaves

Click to play video: 'As Greyhound leaves new companies offer Okanagan bus service' As Greyhound leaves new companies offer Okanagan bus service
Watch Above: The travel options in B.C are about to change radically as Greyhound gets set to stop service in western Canada on Wednesday night. As Megan Turcato reports, four new companies are moving in to fill the void in some parts of the Okanagan but many aren't looking forward to the loss of Greyhound service – Oct 31, 2018

It’s the end of an era for Greyhound in western Canada, as the bus company shuts down its routes across B.C. and the Prairies on Wednesday night.

Only one route into western Canada will continue going forward, running between Vancouver and Seattle.

Outside the Vernon station, many are unhappy with the service’s end.

“I think they should have re-evaluated the whole situation because there are people like me who need Greyhound, people who don’t own vehicles to get from A to B,” said Cathy Williams.

“Even flying doesn’t get you everywhere in B.C.,” added Arne Ebbeson.

“It only goes to certain areas and you still need Greyhound. A lot of people are going to be put out by it, that’s for sure.”

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Watch Below: In smaller BC communities there is concern that no one will step in to take Greyhound’s place. Megan Turcato has more on that story from the north Okanagan.

Click to play video: 'Concerns raised about gaps left by Greyhound departure' Concerns raised about gaps left by Greyhound departure
Concerns raised about gaps left by Greyhound departure – Oct 31, 2018

READ MORE: Fragmented bus service market emerges as Greyhound exits Western Canada this week

The company, however, said its ridership has dropped more than 40 per cent in Canada since 2010 and it can’t keep operating unsustainable routes.

Meanwhile, applications from new companies to move in and fill the void have been fast-tracked.

So far, four businesses have been approved to provide service to the Okanagan.

READ MORE: Greyhound fingers ridesharing as a factor in its demise in Western Canada

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Trail-based Silver City Stagelines Ltd. will be offering service between Nelson and Kelowna through Rock Creek.

A Merritt company, Merritt Shuttle Bus Services, has been given the go-ahead to operate a route between Merritt and Kelowna.

Alberta-based Ebus will offer Kamloops to Kelowna and Kelowna to Vancouver trips. Their first buses will start operating on Wednesday.

Victoria-based Wilson’s Transportation Ltd. has been given approval to serve the route between Vancouver and Kelowna. It’s affiliated with the company that currently runs the BC Ferries Connector.

In Vernon, the only service will be on the Ebus route between Kelowna and Kamloops. Starting Wednesday, the bus will stop at the clock tower on 32 Ave. and 31 St. in downtown Vernon, but only if tickets have been booked in advance.

“Vernon will be by reservation, so we certainly encourage people to book in advance. If no one is booked to get on or get off, we won’t be stopping there,” said John Stepovy, EBus’s director of business development.

In Kelowna, the Ebus stop is at the Kelowna International Airport.

WATCH: Global Okanagan coverage of Greyhound 
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It’s also the end of the line for the Greyhound station in Vernon, which is up for sale.

The popular restaurant already inside the station is looking to expand and has put in an offer to buy the building.

“I’m a little bit nervous. I’m just being positive and optimistic that it will all work out. We have our offer in and [we are] just going back and forth with Greyhound and trying to pick a good number,” said Eatology owner Kristina Klein.

The restaurant will continue to operate in its current location until at least the end of December, as it has an ongoing lease in the Greyhound building.

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