Bus service returns to Bonnyville
By: Brandon MacLeod
| Posted: Tuesday, Mar 20, 2012 06:00 am
Passenger bus service has returned to the Bonnyville area. The Northern Express Bus Line has commenced service between Cold Lake and Edmonton, with stops in major centres along the way, including Bonnyville, St. Paul and Smoky Lake.
The company started serving the route on March 19.
A complete lack of passenger busing servicing communities in the Lakeland became a major issue back in October, when the sole passenger bus service, Greyhound, cut its passenger routes to and from many rural communities, while maintaining its freight services to those same centres.
Northern Express is the first busing company to take on the vacant routes.
“We have been operating out of High Level and servicing northern routes to Edmonton for the past seven years now,” said Jean Juckes, co-owner of Northern Express. “Once Greyhound stopped its passenger service (in the Lakeland) we saw there was a need that no one else had filled.”
She added, “We’ve been considering the Cold Lake route for a while but it was taking a little while to get going on that.”
Juckes said the company had been receiving phone calls and requests for service in the Lakeland area and is happy to now be able to offer it.
“It’s not very good for the people who live in these communities to not have some sort of public transportation.”
For now, those interested in the bus service can call the Edmonton office at (780) 983-8225 to book seats but Juckes said there are plans to eventually open a Cold Lake office.
Tickets from Cold Lake to Edmonton are currently set at $90, with High Level to Grande Prairie, a comparable distance, set at $100, said Juckes.
Though other busing companies in the area have expressed interest in servicing the route, none have been formally certified as of yet, according to Alberta Transportation.
“We don’t currently have any other operating authority certificates to operate passenger bus service in the area,” said Trent Bancarz, an Alberta Transportation spokesperson.
However, he said Alberta Transportation does receive an updated list of applicant companies each week.