Dianne St. Jean

The new BC Bus North service made its debut on Monday, June 4 in Valemount, stopping at the Health Centre, its arrival and departure spot in Valemount.

The new, interim long-haul service was launched by the provincial government to bridge the service gap left behind by Greyhound, which discontinued the majority of its northern bus routes on June 1.

Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena had directed BC Transit to work with one of its service operators to provide a base-level service to help fill the gap.

The service, which also has arrival and departure times in McBride and Tete Jaune as well as the major northern towns and cities, is also affordable, with one-way fares of either $35 or $45 per route, depending on how far people travel.

The routes include two round-trips per week, between Prince Rupert and Prince George, Prince George and Valemount, and Prince George to Dawson Creek/Fort St. John. The bus also offers one round-trip per week from Fort Nelson to Dawson Creek/Fort St. John.

“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 Trevena.

The service is interim. However, says Trevena, once it’s up and running, steps will be taken to work with northern communities in finding a long-term solution.

“We’re looking forward to delivering a long-haul service for the first time to connect people and communities in northern BC,” commented Erinn Pinkerton, interim president and CEO of BC Transit. “Our team has been working hard to find ways to make this interim solution meet the needs of customers in the North.”

The service is being operated by Pacific Western Transportation, using four highway coaches equipped with luggage and washroom facilities.

The province will fund BC Bus North for one year, during which time they will evaluate the demand for the service and work towards a long-term transportation solution. 

The service also provides passengers with different payment options. People can either buy their ticket online using a credit card at www.BCBus.ca or through the call centre at 1 844 564 7494, Monday to Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Payment can also be made by debit, in person, when passengers board the bus, but customers need to reserve their seats ahead of time, and then will connect with the driver to complete the debit transaction when boarding the bus. Drivers will be made aware of the passengers that need to pay by debit.

To see available schedules, and fares visit https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BC_Bus_North_Map_Schedules_Fares_June_2018.pdf