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Federal, B.C. governments commit to continue northern bus service

Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau at the COFI convention Thursday. Bill Phillips photo
Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau

Canada’s and British Columbia’s transportation ministers have made a joint commitment to continue BC Bus North, the transportation service that connects B.C.’s northern and rural communities.

“Intercity bus services are important for the people of British Columbia and for Canadians across the country, particularly for those in Indigenous, rural and remote communities where other transportation options do not exist,” said Canada’s Minister of Transport Marc Garneau, in a news release. “We are working to find solutions and are encouraged by B.C.’s interest to collaborate on this issue.”

The commitment to continue BC Bus North, as well as to address transit needs resulting from Greyhound abruptly withdrawing service, came about following a meeting between the two transportation ministers.

“I expressed our government’s firm belief that people in our province need to have access to safe, affordable and reliable long-distance ground transportation – to be able to visit friends and family, to get to work or their classes,” said Claire Trevena, B.C.’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “The current interim service in the North established by our government last year, BC Bus North, has been well received and is relied on by many individuals and organizations.”

The B.C. government launched BC Bus North on June 4, 2018, as an interim solution, just days after Greyhound discontinued the majority of its northern bus routes. Private operators are also running bus service in other areas of the province formerly served by Greyhound.

BC Bus interim service was set to expire on May 30, 2019. While details of the joint federal-provincial commitment are worked out, the Province has extended the interim service to September 2019.

BC Bus North is operated by BC Transit through its service operator, Pacific Western Transportation.

BC Bus North is comprised of a fleet of four 44-seat highway coaches; four routes cover 2,000 kilometres.

More than 4,500 people have ridden on BC Bus North since the service began and 20 per cent indicated that they were travelling for employment.

BC Bus North covers nearly 7,000 kilometres every week or about 28,000 kilometres per month.

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