An Alberta-based company has applied to fill some of the void to be left by Greyhound.
Greyhound will cease all service in Western Canada, save for a Vancouver to Seattle route operated by its U.S. arm, as of Oct. 31.
Ebus, a a scheduled passenger motorcoach company that has been operating in Alberta since 2011, has applied to the province’s Passenger Transportation Board to begin service between Kamloops and Vancouver, Kamloops and Kelowna and Kelowna and Vancouver.
Ebus and Red Arrow, luxury coach service, are owned by the Pacific Western Transportation Group of Companies, the largest privately owned people transportation enterprise in Canada.
Ebus is proposing to run three routes.
Route A would see a minimum of two round-trips per day from Kamloops to Vancouver, using the Coquihalla and Trans-Canada highways, with stops in Merritt and Abbotsford.
Route B would see a minimum of two round trips per day between Kamloops and Kelowna via Highway 97, with a stop between the two cities in Vernon.
Route C would see a minimum of two round-trips per day between Kelowna and Vancouver using the Okanagan Connector, with stops in Merritt and Chilliwack.
John Stepovy, the company’s director of business development, told KTW the firm believes the routes can work because of Pacific Western’s 40-year focus on transporting people, noting there will be no freight service with the accompanying multiple stops along the routes.
Ebus will have stops in a few larger centres along its passenger routes.
While there has been no word on when a decision on the application will be made, Stepovy said the goal is to have the Ebus service begin as soon as Greyhound departs and have no gaps in service.
There will be no main depot, as exists now with Greyhound. Instead, Stepovy said, the company hopes to partner with local hotels to establish departure and drop-off kiosks, as is done in Alberta.
The cost of a trip on an Ebus to Kelowna and Vancouver would be similar to current rates at Greyhound, Stepovy said, though prices have yet to be finalized.
He said the company will be posting jobs for drivers and customer-service representatives, noting there is also the potential for partnerships with ride-sharing companies in the region to get people into Kamloops from outlying communities.
The Passenger Transportation Board is also looking at an application from a Merritt-based company that wants to offer a reservation-based service between Kamloops and Merritt, Kamloops and the Highland Valley copper mine, Merritt and the Highland Valley copper mine, along with routes elsewhere.
In addition, Rider Express Transportation of Regina has applied to operate once-daily scheduled service between the Alberta border and Vancouver, with a stop in Kamloops.