The bus service that replaced Greyhound is not fulfilling its licence requirements, according to the Passenger Transportation Board.
Rider Express is based in Regina, Sask and was incorporated two years ago.
Michael McGee, acting director of the board said when the board approves a route, there are set terms and conditions an operator must adhere to. Failure to do so can result in enforcement action.
However, McGee said he did not know what that could be in Rider Express’ case.
Greyhound halted bus services last Oct. in Alberta, Sask, and Manitoba and all but one route in B.C. The only route remaining B.C. route is between Vancouver and Seattle.
According to Poparide, a rideshare app for traveling between cities in Canada, roughly 2,000,000 people were stranded by Greyhound’s departure.
The owner of Rider Express, Firat Uray said in an email so far the company is pleased with the service it provides. However, ridership is low. Uray hopes to increase to three days a week by the middle of March and have a daily service in April.
When Black Press spoke with Rider Express last fall, the company said it would provide a daily service from October onward.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the Passenger Transportation Board said they are working with Rider Express to ensure it is in compliance with their license.
“Filling the remainder of Greyhound’s routes is a top priority for this government and we continue to look at all options available to fill the gap left by Greyhound,” said the ministry.
The board said other companies can apply for the same route as Rider Express, however according to its website none have.
Transportation options in Revelstoke
Since Greyhound left Revelstoke last Oct., the city has become more isolated.
In the past, the Revelstoke Woman’s Shelter provided bus tickets to women fleeing abuse, trying to get home or find somewhere safe.
Lynne Loeppky executive director of the shelter said Rider Express is not a suitable option as it only runs once a week.
Instead, the shelter has been providing transportation itself, or the women are finding rides on the The Stoke List, Facebook or Rideshare. But the situation isn’t ideal, said Loeppky.
“Women are getting into situations that they aren’t always comfortable with,” she said. “We try to do some safety planning, like practice meeting up with someone for a ride.”
Loeppky said they record the driver’s licence plate number as a safety precaution.
Some businesses in Revelstoke have also noticed a change in the type of visitor to the city.
“We have fewer younger guests for sure,” said Vie Fisetce from Journey’s Perch Guesthouse. Fisetce said most of her visitors this year are older and have a car.
Travelers younger than 25 cannot rent a car, thereby leaving fewer options.
“It’s been a struggle planning to get to, or from, Revelstoke and it’s caused a lot of inconveniences for people not in the know,” wrote Tessandra Hulburd from the Revelstoke Visitor Centre in an email response to Black Press.
“It [Rider Express] hasn’t proven to be very helpful for visitors or locals alike especially if they have mid-week emergencies, travel plans, appointments or flights.”
There are two other buses that travel to Kelowna and Kamloops from Revelstoke. One is a health connections bus, which leaves on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and is primarily for non-emergency medical appointments.
If there is space on the 17-person bus, anyone else can get a ride. It’s $5 and subsidized by the City of Revelstoke, B.C. Transit and Interior Health. However, there’s no room for luggage, just what a passenger can hold on their lap.
According to BC Transit data, the health connection bus has not seen an increase in ridership since Greyhound’s departure. It says 234 passengers took the bus between November to January compared to 244 in the previous year.
Another option is the Everything Revelstoke Shuttle. Currently, it charges $109 one-way per adult from Revelstoke to the Kelowna Airport. By comparison, if booked a few weeks in advance, a Greyhound ticket to Kelowna was less than $30. Rider Express does not service Kelowna.
Other than Rider Express and Rideshare, there are few options for Revelstokians traveling east to Calgary.
“Rider Express is not ideal, but it’s better than nothing. It’s just not as good as it was before,” said Loeppky.