MEDICINE HAT, AB -- Taking a shuttle between cities is something most Albertans have done, whether it’s for a flight, doctors appointment or just a visit.
As of October 31st, greyhound is ending its passenger bus and freight services across the prairies, and many are wondering who’s going to fill the gap?
“We’ve seen an increase in calls and inquires specifically saying with greyhound shutting down, they want to know about our services,” says Isabel Hansen, co-owner of Prairie Sprinter. “They want to know about our prices and where we go.”
Hansen says she's received calls from companies that depend on Greyhound to transport their employees, who now have to find other options.
However, options are limited, because most local shuttle services only go to major cities like Medicine Hat, Calgary, and smaller towns along Highway one.
“It leaves kind of people in a situation where they’re waiting for the government to do something,” says Sam Sayegh, co-owner of J&L Shuttle. “They kind of call us to see if we know anything about it or not.”
In July, the province announced funding for a new rural shuttle program between Medicine hat and Lethbridge.
The initiative will connect 12 communities along highway 3 and provide service to roughly 27,000 people in the region.
Medicine Hat and Lethbridge plan on choosing a company to provide the service by the middle of November.
In recent months, the city says it’s received inquiries from both local and out of province companies.
J & L shuttle in Medicine Hat says they’d be up for the challenge.
“I’m all geared for it, we’ve got a full service garage that will look after the buses,” says Seyegh. “We have all experienced drivers and so-on and we have a full staff ready to go.”
The new highway 3 route is scheduled to launch in January.
In the meantime, local companies say they’re more than willing to pick up the slack.
“There will be a lot of companies definitely stepping up to see what they can do to help,” says Hansen “We’re definitely there for everybody to get them to their destinations and hopefully we can fill that void that’s gonna be here shortly.”
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