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Last Greyhound to roll through Penticton today; lack of replacement strands passengers in South Okanagan, Similkameen

Last Greyhound to roll through Penticton today; lack of replacement strands passengers in South Okanagan, Similkameen
WATCH: Last Greyhound to roll through Penticton today; lack of replacement strands passengers in South Okanagan, Similkameen

The last Greyhound bus rolls through Penticton today at 1:45 p.m., leaving the South Okanagan and Similkameen with limited intercity passenger bus service.

The largest service gap is the route between Hope to Princeton through to Keremeos and Penticton.

WATCH BELOW: B.C. MLA Linda Larson fields questions about the impact small communities in B.C. will feel with Greyhound Canada abandoning all but one of its bus routes in Western Canada.

Extended interview with BC MLA Linda Larson about Greyhound
Extended interview with BC MLA Linda Larson about Greyhound

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS) chair Karla Kozakevich told Global Okanagan in an email it is hopeful a private carrier will pick up the route, “or a small service that can take residents to Hope so that they could connect onto the Kelowna to Vancouver route, now that the new route has been announced.”

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The Penticton Greyhound terminal, on a snowy day during busier times.
The Penticton Greyhound terminal, on a snowy day during busier times. Courtesy of The Penticton Museum and Archives

READ MORE: Four bus companies approved to serve Okanagan as Greyhound leaves

The RDOS did obtain elector approval through the alternative approval process in September to launch a new transit service between Penticton and Kelowna, with two round trips on weekdays.

“Residents would be able to get on the Kelowna to Vancouver bus that travels via the Coquihalla. However, the start date for that is still fall 2019,” Kozakevich said.

WATCH BELOW: the wheels are in motion for a new bus service between Penticton and Kelowna.

Taxpayer-funded bus route being considered by Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen
Taxpayer-funded bus route being considered by Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen

Current intercity bus service provided by B.C. Transit remains limited, with the longest stretch, from Osoyoos to Kelowna via Penticton, only operational on Mondays.

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

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B.C. Transit spokesperson Shellene McConnell said it works with local governments to offer transit service and any service expansion would have to be initiated at the local level.

Greyhound says its bus terminal in Penticton will be put up for sale.
Greyhound says its bus terminal in Penticton will be put up for sale. Courtesy of The Penticton Museum and Archives

“Costs associated with expanding service are shared between local governments and the province, and any decision to expand would be initiated by the local governments themselves,” she said.

Historians are gathering at the Penticton Greyhound terminal this afternoon to mark its last departure from the station.

Greyhound Canada told Global Okanagan the Penticton station is owned by Greyhound and will be put up for sale.