Williams Lake-based bus company Adventure Charters—which began serving the Prince George to Surrey and Williams Lake to Kamloops routes in May—says that things are going well so far, but fears the repercussions if another bus company is approved to operate along the same corridor.
“So far things are going good. Ridership is strong between Prince George and Surrey, with about 15 to 18 people per trip; it’s higher than we expected,” says Adventure Charters co-owner Jenna Gertzen. “Williams Lake to Kamloops isn’t quite as strong, but it’s still doing okay.
“Riders are grateful, happy, and thrilled to have the service again.”
There had been no passenger bus service along either route since October 2018, when Greyhound Canada closed all of its Western Canada operations. In November 2018 a company based in Merritt was awarded the licence for a route from Merritt to Prince George, but was unable to obtain buses. The situation left people “stuck at home,” according to Gertzen, until Adventure Charters was approved to operate the two routes.
However, the recent announcement that Ebus BC has applied for a licence to operate between Kamloops and Prince George via Cache Creek has Gertzen fearing for the viability of her company’s service.
“If anyone can get a secondary licence, they will. If they start operating it might cause us to stop.”
Gertzen explains that with its existing Kelowna to Kamloops route, Ebus BC can use Kamloops as a hub, drawing in people from other large centres and then going to the Lower Mainland via the Coquihalla. “They have no interest in serving the Fraser Canyon. The Canyon still needs service.”
Gertzen says that the locations of the stops seem to be working really well. There is no stop in Ashcroft, but she notes that the company is pretty flexible if people call for pick-up or drop-off, and that they have stopped at the Esso Travel Centre on Highway 1 for Ashcroft passengers.
“We’re small and nimble. To go down and around to a scheduled stop in Ashcroft would be a challenge, but people can call the office; we’re perfectly happy to work with customers. And a scheduled stop in Ashcroft is an option. If the demand is there to stop there, we will.”
Adventure Charters does southbound runs from Prince George to Surrey on Mondays and Thursdays, and northbound runs on Tuesdays and Fridays. On Mondays and Thursdays they offer round trip service from Williams Lake to Kamloops.
Gertzen says the company is still working to get the word out about the service.
“So many people are still learning about us. Slowly but surely, we’ll get there.”