Rider Express has been given the right-of-way to increase its bus service in B.C.
B.C.’s Passenger Transportation Board said yes to an application by the Regina-based bus company to increase the minimum frequency of its route from Vancouver to the Alberta border, as well as adding three stops. The three stops are: Sorrento, Chase and Surrey.
The decision, dated June 22, approves providing a minimum frequency of one trip per day, an increase for several communities from a minimum of two trips per week. Those communities include Golden, Revelstoke, Sicamous and Salmon Arm.
The route in question, Route A, serves a minimum of 10 communities from Vancouver to the B.C./Alberta border along corridors that include Highways 1 and 5: Golden, Revelstoke, Sicamous, Salmon Arm, Kamloops, Merritt, Hope, Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Vancouver.
The application from Rider Express stated its ridership from the start of its operation has steadily increased.
“The applicant provided a table summarizing ticket sales and seating capacity from May 2019 to November 2019 which indicated an overall significant increase in the number of passengers over that period. The applicant acknowledged that the period covered did not include winter months, but expressed confidence that the winter months would continue the trend,” stated the transportation board’s decision.
The board decision also noted that because Rider Express has applied to increase its service and not acquire a new route, “this will put the onus on the applicant to continue daily service in both directions and provide greater certainty to passengers.”
The decision made note of eight complaints about the company that had been received by the Passenger Transportation Branch between January and October 2019. Seven were substantiated and resolved.
“In my view this number and frequency of violations is troubling. However, I note that no violations after October 2019 have been brought to the board’s attention. This bodes well and is an indication that Rider Express understands that it must comply with the conditions of its licence,” reads the decision.
Conditions of the approval include posting schedules online and making its reservation system available to the public no later than Aug. 31, 2020.
The decision made reference to Ebus, the main competitor of Rider Express. Ebus operates a service between Vancouver, Kamloops and Kelowna and the two companies’ routes partially overlap.
“Ebus did not make a submission on this application and Rider Express states that the majority of its travellers’ destinations or origins are stops not served by its competitor.”
On its website, Ebus announced that it safely and responsibly relaunched on June 4 its Vancouver/Kamloops/Kelowna schedule.