Rider Express reduces routes due to low ridership numbers

By Taylor Chartrand
November 21, 2018 - 11:41am Updated: November 21, 2018 - 7:02pm

 

Medicine Hat, AB - Since the departure of the iconic Greyhound buses in Western Canada, many Canadians depending on the service have been left wondering how they'll make it from point A to B.

One of those services looking to fill the void is Regina-based company, Rider Express.

Although the issue has sparked quite the conversation, it seems as though the business may have begun during the seasons slow-time.

Owner of Rider Express, Firat Uray said it's been a bad experience to begin the new service.

"We started in a very quiet season for those looking to use the service. We weren't really given enough time to prepare ourselves and at this point, it is what it is."

And like any good business owner, Uray did some investigating on why the numbers were so low at this time of year.

"I talked to former Greyhound drivers and they said this is the slow time of the year for passengers. People are not really taking time off to plan these trips so close to Christmas."

Due to these low numbers, Uray said they have had to make some adjustments to their service.

"At the beginning of November, we started a couple trips from Calgary to Winnipeg but there weren't many passengers. What we are doing now is holding trips until December so we can increase the bookings. It looks like our next trip will be December 3rd from Calgary to Winnipeg and then December 4th from Winnipeg to Calgary."

Uray said if the demand is there, they will make the adjustments accordingly.

"In December, there will be trips from Calgary on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. From Winnipeg, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. If we find a surplus in ridership, we'll add additional routes."

However, the Calgary to Winnipeg route is not the only one struggling.

The Rider Express website has released a memo saying the trips from Calgary to Vancouver have also now been reduced to only once a week due to these same low-ridership issues.

Although the numbers have been low for the Calgary to Winnipeg routes, Uray has been having success in other areas of the province. 

"We just started routes in Edmonton, Saskatoon and Regina. It's been a couple days that we've been running, but I'd say it's going really well. I think the only slow-part will be Calgary to Winnipeg and back."

And the feedback from all of those who have used the service to this point has been relatively positive.

"We haven't received any negative feedback yet. People are happy that we're trying to fill the gaps and are definitely appreciative of what we're doing. They are asking us to continue."

Uray said he has been looking for other ways to expand the popularity of the new bus service.

"We will do some advertising, but the busing industry isn't cheap. We've bought six new buses and can't afford a lot of advertising right now. Once we get up and going and have some profits, we'll certainly look into more advertising."

Uray finished by hoping for some positive momentum.

"As of now, our numbers our rider numbers are low. We'll see if that increases closer to December with people needing to go home for the holidays but you never know. We'll just have to wait and see."

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