Rider Express started running between Calgary and Vancouver last fall. (File photo)

Rider Express to increase Trans-Canada Highway trips to three days a week

Owner says changes to the route from Vancouver to Calgary will go into effect April 1

Those hoping to catch a bus between Calgary and Vancouver along the Trans-Canada Highway may soon be able to do so three days a week.

A driver for the Rider Express bus service that had previously been running only one day a week states it’s launching a three-day-a-week schedule for both its westbound and eastbound Trans-Canada Highway routes on April 1.

Wayne Farrell, who drives the leg of the bus journey between Kamloops and Calgary, said the bus will travel west on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and east on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

At the end of October, Rider Express had announced that upon Greyhound’s demise, it would provide daily bus service between Calgary and Vancouver. Instead, it has been offering bus service from Vancouver to Calgary and back just once a week – Friday heading west, Saturday heading east.

Read More: Promised daily bus schedule shrinks to one day a week

Read More: Bus that replaced Greyhound not meeting once-a-day trip requirement

Rider Express currently has an application before the Passenger Transporation Board requesting a change in its licence reducing the minimum trip frequency from once daily to once weekly. Firat Uray, the owner of the bus line, said the application has been in the works for close to four months and he hasn’t received a decision from the board yet.

Uray said that when Rider started its Calgary to Vancouver route in October 2018 it was not selling many tickets. He attributes the low ridership to the fact that the company was new to the area and few people knew about the route. He said the company could not have borne the cost of running so many bus trips with so few riders and so reduced its trip frequency to one bus per week and applied to the board for the change in minimum number of trips.

Uray said Rider plans to expand to daily service on the Vancouver to Calgary route as ridership grows. He said he assumes after one year in business, enough people will know about the company that it will be able to offer daily service with no further need to reduce trip frequency.

The application to the Transportation Board also asks to drop stops in Sorrento and Chase from Rider’s schedule. Uray said Rider will still pick up passengers in Chase and Sorrento if they book a ticket one day ahead of time.

Farrell said every effort would be made to pick up passengers with pre-booked tickets in other small communities along the highway such as Malakwa if the schedule allows.

After crossing the Alberta border late in the morning, the westbound Rider Express bus pulls into the Husky station on Highway 1 in Golden at noon and departs at 12:45 p.m. It reaches its Revelstoke stop near the Frontier Motel at 122 Highway 23 N at 1:30 p.m. before departing at 1:45. Regarding Sicamous, Farrell said if no one books a ticket departing from there, it might be bypassed in order to stay on schedule. Rider’s schedule states the bus is to leave Salmon Arm at 2:50 p.m. bound for Kamloops where it is scheduled to arrive at 4:15 p.m. Rider’s service from Kamloops to Vancouver runs seven days a week. The westbound bus is scheduled to arrive in Vancouver at 9:15 p.m.

Read More: Former Greyhound staff create parcel service in Salmon Arm

Read More: Shuswap residents left stranded by missing bus routes

Rider’s eastbound route departs Vancouver at 8 a.m. and gets into Kamloops at 12:30 p.m. After leaving Kamloops at 1:15 p.m., the bus is scheduled to depart Salmon Arm at 2:30 p.m., Sicamous at 2:50 and Revelstoke at 3:45. The bus leaves Golden bound for Calgary at 7:05 p.m. reaching its final destination at 10:50.

Tickets for the bus can be booked by calling 1-833-583-3636 or at www.riderexpress.ca. Farrell said tickets can also be found on www.busbud.com which sells tickets for numerous bus companies.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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