B.C. Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena was in Prince George on Wednesday to showcase the BC Bus North service, launched last month to fill the gap Greyhound left behind when it ended passenger service in northern B.C.
Accompanied by Mayor Lyn Hall and other dignitaries, Trevena took a short ride on one of the buses now plying Highways 16 and 97.
BC Bus North provides two round-trips per week, between Prince Rupert and Prince George, Prince George and Valemount, and Prince George to Dawson Creek-Fort St. John. Additionally, it offers one round-trip per week from Fort Nelson to Dawson Creek-Fort St. John.
One-way fares are either $35 or $45 per route, depending on how far people are travelling. In contrast, Greyhound trips were overnight and the charge was upwards of $150, Trevena has noted.
It's operated by Pacific Western Transportation using four highway coaches, equipped with luggage and washroom facilities and large enough to hold 42 to 44 passengers, and they will be on the roads during daylight hours.
Seats must be booked by 2 p.m. the day before by calling toll-free 1-844-564-7494 or, if you're in Prince George, 250-564-0161.
Trips from Prince George to Prince Rupert run on Thursdays and Saturdays with return trips on Fridays and Sundays.
Prince George to Fort St. John are on Monday and Tuesday with return trips on Wednesday and Thursday and the Prince George to Valemount run will be on Mondays and Fridays in the morning with return trips in the afternoon.
For the run to Prince Rupert, pick up points in Prince George are at Seventh and Dominion, Pine Centre and Westgate and you must be there by 8 a.m., 8:05 a.m. and 8:10 a.m. respectively. Seventh and Dominion are the only pickup point for the trips to Fort St. John and Valemount and the bus will be leaving at 8 a.m. and 7 a.m. respectively.
Those going as far as Smithers and Mackenzie will be charged $35, rising to $45 for those going beyond that point. The charge will be $35 for the entire distance to Valemount.
BC Transit's service along Highway 16, which charges $5 per trip, remains on the road.
Cost of the BC Bus North service is set at $2 million for the year.
For more information, go to bcbus.ca.