Com­pa­nies fill­ing in the gaps with ru­ral trans­porta­tion in Al­berta

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Prairies - CON­TRIB­UTED

Ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties through­out Al­berta will have op­tions when it comes to ru­ral bus ser­vice as Grey­hound of­fi­cially ends its op­er­a­tion in the prov­ince.

More than 82 per cent of Grey­hound’s ex­ist­ing routes are be­ing cov­ered by pri­vate car­ri­ers that have al­ready en­hanced their op­er­a­tions to serve ru­ral and ur­ban com­mu­ni­ties.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the Al­berta and fed­eral gov­ern­ments will in­vest up to $2 mil­lion per year, over two years, to pro­vide ser­vice to small and ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties. The cost-shar­ing agree­ment be­tween the two gov­ern­ments will act as an in­cen­tive to draw pro­pos­als from pri­vate car­ri­ers to fill re­main­ing ser­vice gaps.

“For Al­ber­tans in ru­ral, re­mote and Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties, bus ser­vices have been a life­line to work, school, vi­tal health care, fam­ily and friends. That’s why our gov­ern­ment will be work­ing with com­pa­nies to en­sure that ser­vice con­tin­ues across the prov­ince. We said we will not leave peo­ple stranded by the side of the road.” ex­plained Brian Ma­son, Min­is­ter of Trans­porta­tion in a state­ment.

Quick facts

• On July 9, Grey­hound Canada an­nounced it would end ser­vice across the West on Oct. 31, af­fect­ing bus ser­vice in more than 100 com­mu­ni­ties across Al­berta.

• Since then, sev­eral other pri­vate sec­tor car­ri­ers have an­nounced plans to ex­pand their ser­vices along some of the more pop­u­lated routes. These com­pa­nies in­clude:

• Red Ar­row/E-Bus (Di­ver­si­fied Trans­porta­tion)

• North­ern Ex­press Bus Line

• Cold Shot

• Rider Ex­press

• Six new pi­lot projects across the prov­ince have re­ceived fund­ing through the Ru­ral Trans­porta­tion Pi­lot Pro­gram to pro­vide more trans­porta­tion op­tions for peo­ple in ru­ral Al­berta.

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