The long-distance bus service that replaced Greyhound in connecting B.C Interior centres including Kelowna, Kamloops, Vernon and Salmon Arm with the Fraser Valley and the Lower Mainland celebrated its first year in operation Friday.
Ebus, which uses curbside stops at the Kelowna International Airport and in Westbank in West Kelowna, provides four trips per week between Kelowna and Vancouver, with stops in West Kelowna, Merritt, Hope, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, and Surrey, and two trips per week between Kelowna, Kamloops and Salmon Arm with stops in Vernon, Armstrong, Enderby, Sorrento and Chase.
The Salmon Arm stop was added last month.
The company’s director of business development John Stepovy spoke with the media Friday at the Kelowna airport stop, saying the company is pleased with how its service has rolled out over the first 12 months.
“The numbers are meeting expectations and people just need to know there is a service (that replaced Greyhound),” he said.
Stepovy said the company has seen moderate growth over its first year of operation in southern B.C. and its aim is to help get people out of their own vehicles and reduce the number of single-occupancy vehicles on the roads.
With that in mind, Ebus, a division of Alberta-bases Pacific Western Transportation Group, has added more stops (West Kelowna and Salmon Arm) to its service and more weekend departures.
Phillip Elchitz, senior manager of airport operations at YLW, said the airport is happy to have the new bus service as a partner, located at its facility.
“It’s the type of partnership that works well,” he said, noting it helps make the airport more accessible to people throughout the Thompson, Okanagan and Shuswap regions.
And riders appear to like it too.
Jennifer Gullins, a student at Okanagan College, said the new service to Salmon Arm will make it easier for her to visit family.
Joseph Schembri, a student at UBC Okanagan, said it is handy for him to travel back to his home in the Lower Mainland, especially because the YLW stop is close the UBCO campus across Highway 97.
Currently there is no downtown stop for Ebus in Kelowna, but Stepovy said is something that has been requested and may be considered in the future.
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