Alberta company to pick up some B.C. Interior routes abandoned by Greyhound - InfoNews

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Alberta company to pick up some B.C. Interior routes abandoned by Greyhound

A Ebus coach is pictured in this photo from the Red Arrow Motorcoach Facebook page. The company has been operating a coach bus service for years in Alberta and is hoping to step in to fill the gaps left behind when Greyhound ends its Western Canada routes next month.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Red Arrow Motorcoach
September 21, 2018 - 11:00 AM

KAMLOOPS - A company that's been operating a coach bus service for years in Alberta is hoping to step in to fill the gaps left behind when Greyhound ends its Western Canada routes next month.

John Stepovy is the director of sales and business development with Red Arrow and Ebus, organizations under the Pacific Western Transportation Group of Companies that operate passenger bus services in Alberta.

He says the company filed an application with B.C.'s Passenger Transportation Board to start operating routes in B.C. including Kelowna to Vancouver, Kamloops to Vancouver, and Kelowna to Kamloops.

Stepovy says he hopes the application will be accepted before the pending end date for Greyhound routes, slated to take effect Oct. 31.

"For us, one significant differentiator (from Greyhound) is we focus on passengers," Stepovy says, adding that the company doesn't handle freight and everything is focused on a better passenger experience. "We operate more regular hours, no overnight trips, that type of model that focuses on clients and riders has the opportunity to be successful."

Stepovy says because of those factors, the company isn't deterred from Greyhound's reasoning for its routes-shutdown, which was mostly financial. Greyhound has previously said routes in rural Canada were simply not sustainable anymore.

Ebus and Red Arrow currently use full-size motor coaches, and if the application is approved in B.C. the 52-seat buses will be equipped with wifi, power outlets, washrooms on board and wheelchair accessibility.

"Of course there’s challenges in this space, but we feel that there's opportunity for the service to succeed," Stepovy says. "We hope the community really embraces the service and if it does it will stay."

There will be stops along the way in the routes mentioned, including in Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Vernon and Merritt, but right now the company isn't focusing on a potential expansion until and if the application is approved, and the service proves successful in this province.

"Unfortunately there's no (timeline) from the Passenger Transportation Board, but they have made commitments to expedite the process," Stepovy says. "Hopefully we hear soon and our goal is to operate before Greyhound leaves.”

Stepovy says the company is willing to listen to public feedback on timing and locations, but for now, if the application is approved routes will run seven days per week with several trips per stop, including in the morning and late afternoon.


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