The province is looking for a transportation service company to take over the operation of its BC Bus North Service through to 2021.
The service has four routes linking Prince Rupert to Prince George, extending to Valemount, Fort St. John, Dawson Creek and Fort Nelson. The province injected $2 million into the pilot project when it was first introduced in June last year to fill in a gap in service left when Greyhound Canada pulled its routes from northern B.C.
“Many people depend on the bus in northern B.C. This is an important step towards creating and sustaining reliable inter-city bus service in the North,” says Claire Trevena, B.C.’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure in a press release. “We remain committed to safe, reliable and affordable transportation, so people can get to work or school, access the services they need and have the freedom to travel.”
The current interim service provides two round-trip routes a week and is set to expire this September. The successful applicant would see the contract start no later than January 1, 2020 and last until March 31, 2021 with a potential for extension to June 2021.
Respondents are asked to propose a plan that would allow the inter-city transportation service to operate without government subsidies. They’re also hoping to see proposals that would deliver “safe, efficient, reliable” customer service, maximize ridership and keep ticket costs affordable.
The request for proposals ends August 23 at 2 p.m.
Total BC Bus North ridership numbers from June 1 to May 31 for Prince Rupert indicated there were 688 passengers on the Saturday run, while 850 passengers were counted on the Thursday run. For residents in Terrace, the BC Bus North service does take passengers from the Skeena Mall bus stop to Prince Rupert every Thursday and Saturday, with return trips on Friday and Sunday.
The federal government, through Western Economic Diversification, will also partner with the province for the northern inter-city bus service and will deliver up to $10 million to support western provinces following Greyhound’s decision to cease its operations, according to the press release.