VICTORIA, B.C. – Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena announced today that the provincial government is launching an interim long-haul bus service to fill the gap Greyhound will leave behind when it is allowed to cease service to Northern B.C.
June 4, just days after Greyhound discontinues the majority of its northern bus routes on June 1st. BC Bus North’s service will include two round-trips per week, between Prince George and both Dawson Creek and Fort St. John. Additionally, BC Bus North will offer one round-trip per week between the Dawson Creek/Fort St. John area and Fort Nelson.
BC Bus North will be operated by Pacific Western Transportation using four highway coaches, equipped with luggage and washroom facilities.
Photo by Government of B.C./Flickr”BC Bus North will help make sure that people in the North, especially those in rural and remote communities, don’t feel stranded and isolated,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Once the service is up and running, we’re going to take the next step by working with northern communities to find a long-term solution that delivers a sustainable, affordable solution for these communities.”
“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.”
One-way fares for the service will cost either $35 or $45 per route, depending on how far people are travelling. Buses will depart from Prince George for the Peace Region on Mondays and Tuesdays at 8:00 a.m. The bus is scheduled to arrive in Dawson Creek at 2:55 p.m., and in Fort St. John at 4:30 p.m. Buses will depart Fort St. John for Prince George on Wednesdays and Thursday, leaving Fort St. John at 8:00 a.m., arriving in Prince George at 4:30 p.m. Buses bound for Fort Nelson will leave Dawson Creek at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesdays, arriving in Fort Nelson at 2:40 p.m. that same afternoon.
The full schedule can be found here: https://bcbus.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/8201_BCBN_Schedules_Fares-4.pdf
The service will operate from existing BC Transit stops in communities that currently have bus service, and from other locations in smaller communities, similar to the former service provided by Greyhound. In Fort St. John, service will be provided from the BC Transit bus stop at the corner of 100th St. and 100th Ave., while in Taylor, buses will stop at the Esso gas station.
Trevena said that travellers will need to book at least one day ahead of their trip using the program’s website: https://bcbus.ca. Bookings need to be made via credit card, but Pinkerton said that customers that don’t have a valid credit card can also phone the call centre to inquire about making other arrangements. Trevena said that the Province is looking at expanding payment methods, as well as possibly expanding service to other communities, in the coming weeks and months.
The BC Bus North program is being funded to the tune of approximately $2 million, and is being funded from BC Transit’s operating budget for 12 months. Trevena said that the Province will be continuing to hold dialogue with communities in order to come up with a permanent solution.