Victoria is launching a new, interim long-haul northern bus service to fill the gap Greyhound will leave behind, and help make sure British Columbians living in the north are able to travel safely and affordably from community to community, Premier John Horgan announced today.
The new service, called BC Bus North, will begin providing service on June 4, 2018, just days after Greyhound discontinues the majority of its northern bus routes on June 1. Earlier this year the Passenger Transportation Board granted Greyhound’s request to cancel service in northern B.C., against the wishes of northern communities and the provincial government.
“People in the North rely on transportation for their livelihoods, to access the health and education services they need, and to visit family and friends,” said Horgan. “In the face of Greyhound’s decision, our job is to make sure northern communities and the people who live there are able to stay connected through safe, reliable and affordable public transportation.”
BC Bus North’s service will include two round-trips per week, between Prince Rupert and Prince George, Prince George and Valemount, and Prince George to Dawson Creek/Fort St. John. Additionally, BC Bus North will offer one round-trip per week from Fort Nelson to Dawson Creek/Fort St. John.
“BC Bus North will help make sure that people in the North, especially those in rural and remote communities, don’t feel stranded and isolated,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Once the service is up and running, we’re going to take the next step by working with northern communities to find a long-term solution that delivers a sustainable, affordable solution for these communities.”
The service will be affordable with one-way fares being either $35 or $45, per route, depending on how far people are travelling.
Northern B.C. has unique transportation challenges due to its remote geography and vast distances between communities. Greyhound’s move to eliminate service in the North has put people at risk for isolation, such as those without access to personal vehicles, and especially people of low income, Indigenous communities, women, seniors and people with disabilities.
The minister directed BC Transit to work with one of its service operators to provide a base-level service to help fill the gap left by Greyhound. BC Bus North will be operated by Pacific Western Transportation using four highway coaches, equipped with luggage and washroom facilities.
“We’re looking forward to delivering a long-haul service for the first time to connect people and communities in northern B.C.,” said Erinn Pinkerton, interim president and CEO, BC Transit. “Our team has been working hard to find ways to make this interim solution meet the needs of customers in the North.”
The province will fund BC Bus North for 12 months, during which time government will work with local leaders to evaluate the demand for this new service, and develop a long-term transportation solution that works for people in this part of the province.