Thompson Valley Charters is launching a new bus route from Kamloops to Edmonton, beginning in May.
The company typically charters the Kamloops Blazers, the Kamloops Storm, the Merritt Centennials and other sports teams and also transports passengers between Rocky Mountaineer rail tours and hotels in Kamloops, though such bus trips are scarce amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thompson Valley Charters co-owner Roger Nadeau told KTW his company decided to pivot during the pandemic and fill a need, following Greyhound’s departure from Western Canada in 2016.
Ebus has provided private service between Kamloops and the Lower Mainland and Okanagan. However, Nadeau said service to Edmonton remained unfilled.
He said the Edmonton connection will begin on May 3, running twice per week. A bus will leave Kamloops on Mondays, return on Tuesdays, leave on Thursdays and return on Fridays.
“We’re interconnecting,” Nadeau said. “Between the two of us [Ebus and Thompson Valley Charters], we’re trying to make B.C. a little easier to get around.”
Nadeau said his bus business has struggled during the pandemic, as a result of sports teams being unable to travel and Rocky Mountaineer suspending operations until at least July.
“We were dead here, we never moved a wheel for eight months,” Nadeau told KTW, noting his trucking business has been supplementing his bus business. “That’s life, right?”
The timing of the new bus trips came about the time the province has seen a surge in new COVID-19 cases, resulting in new travel restrictions. Nadeau said people still need to travel for essential purposes, including for work and medical reasons.
Nadeau said plans are for the Kamloops-Edmonton connection to be permanent, continuing after the pandemic is over.
A one-way trip from Kamloops to Edmonton will cost about $200. A one-way trip to Barriere will cost about $20. Unlike old Greyhound buses, Thompson Valley Charters buses will include movies and Wi-Fi service.
For more information, click here.