A Merritt-based company is continuing its efforts to operate bus and cargo service in B.C.’s Interior with stops in places such as 100 Mile House, Quesnel, Williams Lake and Prince George. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Merritt-based company still vying to offer bus service through Cariboo region

Gene Field said he’s been told they may not be eligible for funding as the routes are not considered “unprofitable”

A Merritt company hoping to offer a replacement for Greyhound through parts of B.C.’s Interior says it is still on track but is urging the public to write letters of support to B.C.’s minister of transportation.

Gene Field and his wife Tammy of Merritt Shuttle Bus Services Ltd. plan to offer routes from Lower Nicola to Kamloops, Kamloops to Highland Valley, Merritt to Highland Valley, Merritt to Spences Bridge to Langley, Merritt to Spences Bridge to Prince George, Merritt to Kelowna.

The Fields have received an extension for their licence from the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) to have buses on the road by Jan. 7, 2019.

Field said they have been told because the routes are considered “profitable” they may not be eligible for federal funding, which is why he is asking the public to write the letters of support.

“The bids are supposed to be for bus companies where the routes are not profitable,” Field told the Tribune Thursday, which he said is interesting, considering Greyhound cancelled its services because it was losing money. “The government is giving people an incentive to do bus routes that are not profitable by funding it so that way the people living in those routes would be able to have bus service.”

Read more: Non-profits, local governments invited to replace Greyhound

Field hopes letters of support sent to Minister of Transportation Claire Trevena will result in his bid receiving funding.

“Even though we technically don’t qualify, they may realize that people living in the Interior, including in Aboriginal communities, need the service,” he said. “It’s not like I’m starting a coffee shop in a town where there are already five coffee shops. There is no bus service available.”

In the meantime, Field is pursuing finding money to purchase some buses.

“I have them lined up and can get all the buses that I need,” he said, noting his original budget of $750,000 has been reduced to $250,000.

“All I need to do is have two buses, licensed and insured and ready to go on Jan. 7, and we will get to keep our PTB licence.”

Existing investment rules are making things difficult, he added.

“They have to have a net worth of $250,000 or they have to be family or they have to be someone that is close to family and it has to be for five years and you have to make them a partner,” Field said. “We were hoping for two years because some people want to invest and then get in and get out.”

When asked if he feels like giving up, Field said: “Heck no.”

“We’ve put too much time, work and effort into to this. We will come up with a creative way to get money.”

He had hoped to be on the road by Dec. 1, but has had to postpone a few times.

“I would love to have some buses on the road by Dec. 15 so we could get some people around by Christmas.”

Read more: Bus company eyeing passenger and cargo service departing from Williams Lake, stopping in Quesnel


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: Wildfire northeast of Clinton put out by BC Wildfire Service

Fire at 51 Mile Creek suspected to be lightning-caused

Barkerville keeping busy hosting tourists amid COVID-19 pandemic

The historic town opened July 3 with a number of safety measures in place

Fish studies continue on Quesnel Lake after mine breach

Aug. 4, 2020 will mark six years since Mt. Polley Mine breach

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

Travel restrictions inspiring co-operation in border communities

Small border towns are asking for exemption to travel ban

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Leave your deets when dining: Restaurants taking personal info to trace COVID-19

Health officials say indoor dining presents a higher risk

Raptors kneel for both American and Canadian anthems ahead of tipoff

Majority of players have substituted their names on the backs of their jerseys with racial and social justice messages

Wild’s Mathew Dumba makes anti-racism speech, kneels ahead of Blackhawks vs. Oilers

Matt Dumba, 26, took to center ice to speak on behalf of fellow members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance

Most Read