An Alberta-based company operating in the Okanagan-Shuswap wants to provide bus service to Salmon Arm, Chase, Enderby and Armstrong.
Village of Chase Chief administrative officer Joni Heinrich reports that Bill Ony, business director for Pacific Western Group of Companies, the company that operates Ebus, addressed Chase council on May 28.
Heinrich says Ony explained the company is applying to B.C.’s Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) to operate passenger bus services from Kamloops through Chase to Salmon Arm, Enderby, Armstrong and Vernon.
Ony says Ebus already provides service from Kamloops to Vancouver as well as Kamloops to Falkland, Vernon, Kelowna and on to Vancouver.
Heinrich says Chase Mayor Rod Crowe told Ony that letters of support from the Neskonlith, Little Shuswap Lake and Adams Lake Indian bands were forwarded to the PTB. Ony said the City of Enderby also sent a letter of support.
Ony told council that discussions are ongoing about the possibility of having a stop at the Chase Chamber of Commerce Visitor Centre building if the application for the route is approved.
The Ebus website states Ebus is the sister brand to the luxury Red Arrow and owned by Pacific Western Group of Companies, an Alberta-based and family-owned people transportation company.
Ony reports the company has about 5,000 pieces of equipment and 5,000 employees.
“In my estimation, it’s a company you want running up and down the road.”
Rider Express out of Saskatchewan has also been offering service in the Okanagan/Shuswap. The Rider website lists schedules from Vancouver to Calgary and back, once per day, Monday through Saturday, stopping in Kamloops, Salmon Arm and Sicamous.
Heinrich pointed out that Rider Express has applied to the PTB to have Chase and Sorrento removed from its scheduled stops. Wayne Farrell, a driver and spokesperson with Rider, notes that if someone books a ticket to Chase the company is happy to stop there.
The Rider application also requested the addition of three routes: one daily trip each way between Kamloops and Kelowna via Vernon; one daily trip each way between Merritt and Kelowna; and, during the summer to start, one weekly trip each way between Kelowna and Penticton.
No decision has been made yet by the Passenger Transportation Board on either the Rider or Ebus application.