By Andru McCracken
After years of non-existent interprovincial bus service, Valemountonians and residents of the North Thompson Valley will have a method to get to Alberta. Thompson Valley Charters Ltd. has been successful with their application to the Passenger Transportation Board and will begin their regularly scheduled service between Kamloops and Edmonton starting May 3rd.
Interprovincial travel from Valemount has been spotty at best since Greyhound discontinued their long standing service to the area in 2018. VIA Rail provided an option for some, but that has been reduced to one day a week during the pandemic, leaving travellers to Alberta largely dependent on personal vehicles.
The service will provide more options for residents travelling to Edmonton and Kamloops two days of the week.
On Mondays and Thursdays the bus will start out from Kamloops at noon, arriving in Valemount at 4:15 pm and ending at the Edmonton International Airport at 10:50 pm. Tuesdays and Fridays, the bus returns, leaving
Edmonton at 7:45 am, arriving in Valemount at 12:30pm. It arrives in Kamloops at 4:30pm.
Nadeau said if the demand is there he will increase the frequency of the service.
The bus will stop at all the major centres along the way, including Barriere, Clearwater, Blue River, Valemount, Jasper, Hinton and Edson.
The full schedule is available on the company website tvcbus.ca.
The only thing not posted on the site is the fare schedule.
Currently, the fare is $124 for Valemount to Edmonton each way, and $99 between Valemount and Kamloops.
Thompson Valley Charters Ltd. co-owner Roger Nadeau said the fares could come down.
“We’re just hoping to get a grant from the government to help,” said Nadeau.
On March 9th Premier John Horgan announced $10.7 million in grants to intercity bus services like this one to help keep access open for rural communities.
BC Bus North—a provincially-subsidized bus service connecting the Robson Valley to Prince George and surrounding communities—will continue to run Mondays and Fridays this month. It is currently up for renewal at the end of March.