People who live and work in the North will be able to continue to rely on inter-city bus services, with funding provided by the Province and Government of Canada, through to March 31, 2021.
The Government of Canada, through Western Economic Diversification, is contributing 50% of the costs to continue northern inter-city service until March 31, 2021. The Province will cover the other half of this funding. Each are contributing approximately $1 million for BC Bus North operating costsover the next 14 months.
“Our government is delighted to partner with British Columbia to address gaps in inter-city bus services,” said Marc Garneau, federal Minister of Transport. “We know how important it is for Indigenous communities and Canadians living in rural areas to have access to affordable transportation services, whether to visit family members or to attend a medical appointment.”
One of the conditions for federal funding was that a competitive process be conducted to choose an operator. Diversified Transportation, the current operator of BC Bus North, was the successful proponent following a procurement process for BC Bus North’s current routes. Diversified will provide service until the contract expires in March 2021.
“Bus service is more than a transportation link – for many people in northern B.C., it’s a lifeline,” said Mélanie Joly, federal Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages. “From seniors heading to medical appointments to young people who work in neighbouring towns, we know just how important this service is for so many. Our federal-provincial partnership will ensure that residents, visitors and businesses continue to have safe and affordable transportation options.”
BC Bus North fares will move toward the industry standard of aligning fares with distance. The outcome is that some fares will increase, though new routes have been created with lower fares. Fare updates will be made available on the BC Bus North website on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020.
“When Greyhound stopped its service in the North, we didn’t want to leave people without a reliable and affordable transportation option,” said Claire Trevena, B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “That’s why we started BC Bus North and why we’re now partnering with the federal government to continue to fund B.C.’s northern inter-city bus service through March 2021.”
The Province will continue to closely monitor the BC Bus North service to better understand the demand for inter-city transportation. A BC Bus North travellers’ survey will be conducted in the spring.