by Andru McCracken
The Province is stepping in to offer transportation between northern communities as Greyhound services comes to an end on June 1. Premier John Horgan made the announcement on Tuesday. The service will start June 4.
BC Bus North’s service will include two round-trips per week, Prince George and Valemount, between Prince Rupert and Prince George, 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.
The cost for a one-way ticket anywhere in the Valemount-McBride-Prince George zone is $35. This means a return trip between McBride and Valemount would cost $70 and so would a trip between Valemount and Prince George.
The bus will travel Mondays and Fridays from Valemount to Prince George leaving from the Valemount Health Centre at 3pm with pick ups at the Tete Jaune Lodge Campground at 3:30 pm, McBride Train Station at 4:30 pm arriving in Prince George at 7th and Dominion at 7:05 pm.
The bus leaves Prince George Mondays and Fridays at 7:00 AM and arrives at McBride’s train station at 9:35 AM, Tete Jaune Lodge Campground at 10:35 am and the Valemount Health Centre 11:05 AM.
You can learn more and book trips on their website: bcbus.ca. Or call the toll free reservation line 1-844-564-7494. Reservations are required.
When the Rocky Mountain Goat Newspaper called the reservation line, a person named Brittany answered and asked how she could help.
The Province said they 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.
“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 Premier 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.”
Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure said the service will ensure people in rural and remote communities won’t feel stranded or isolated.
She said that after the service is running they will work with northern communities to find a long term solution.
One-way fares will be $35 or $45, per route, depending on how far people are travelling.
The province has 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.”