Bus service to take on western routes
A new bus line is gearing up to take over some major western Canadian routes given up by Greyhound Transport Inc. Starting Monday, Rider Express Transportation’s fleet of six buses will begin plying the Vancouver to Winnipeg route along the Trans-Canada Highway.
In Calgary, the initial service will see buses leave Calgary for Vancouver and vice versa once in the morning and again in the evening.
Last July, Greyhound announced it was cancelling service in nearly all of Western Canada effective Oct. 31, citing ridership that had dwindled nationwide by 41 per cent since 2010 and by eight per cent in the West in the past year.
On Nov. 1, Rider will commence service between Edmonton and Saskatoon, said owner Firat Uray.
“We’re hoping we have enough ridership and in the future we may add more buses,” he said.
A viable ridership would be 15 to 20 passengers per bus, with more on long weekends, said Uray.
The service’s base in Calgary will be the Husky service station at Barlow Trail and 32nd Avenue N.E.
Uray said his family business operated bus service in Turkey for 20 years and hopes to bring some of that style as well as a European flavour to Western Canada.
“Buses are more comfortable in Turkey, there are more options,” he said. “We will have hot and cold drinks for passengers.”
Last July, the Alberta government said it would launch a pilot project to provide bus service to rural areas in south, southeast, central and northwestern parts of the province once covered by Greyhound. While Rider will stick to the major highways, it’ll make stops in smaller cities and towns along the way, said Uray.