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Victoria, Ottawa continue funding northern bus service

People who live and work in the North will be able to continue to rely on inter-city bus services through to March 31, 2021, thanks to funding provided by Victoria and Ottawa.

The Government of Canada, through Western Economic Diversification, is contributing 50 per cent of the costs to continue northern inter-city service until March 31, 2021. The province will cover the other half of this funding. Each are contributing approximately $1 million for BC Bus North operating costs over the next 14 months.

Forests Minister Doug Donaldson made the announcement this morning in Prince George before hopping on a bus for a short ride around downtown.

One of the conditions for federal funding was that a competitive process be conducted to choose an operator. Diversified Transportation, the current operator of BC Bus North, was the successful proponent following a procurement process for BC Bus North’s current routes. Diversified will provide service until the contract expires in March 2021.

BC Bus North fares will move toward the industry standard of aligning fares with distance. The outcome is that some fares will increase, though new routes have been created with lower fares. Fare updates will be made available on the BC Bus North website on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020.

“When Greyhound stopped its service in the North, we didn’t want to leave people without a reliable and affordable transportation option,” said Claire Trevena, B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, in a news release. “That’s why we started BC Bus North and why we’re now partnering with the federal government to continue to fund B.C.’s northern inter-city bus service through March 2021.”

The province will continue to closely monitor the BC Bus North service to better understand the demand for inter-city transportation. A BC Bus North travellers’ survey will be conducted in the spring.

BC Bus North offers four routes, between Prince George and Prince Rupert, Valemount and Prince George, Prince George and Fort St. John, and Dawson Creek and Fort Nelson.

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

BC Bus North has provided rides for almost 9,000 people since the service was launched in 2018.

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