Thompson Bus says their limited service period will not begin on Sept. 1 as previously announced but nine days later instead.
Thompson Bus manager Jimmy Pelk says the company pushed the start date to Sept. 10 – a Monday – because it gives them more time to train new employees and since the original launch would have fallen on Labour Day long weekend.
The rest of the pieces, including all the necessary paperwork, are in place to make sure their operations run smoothly throughout the fall, he said.
“We’ve got our operating permit in place last week, hired some more staff, secured our terminal in town and our terminal in Winnipeg, so we’re full steam ahead,” Pelk said.
While the specifics of their schedule won’t be revealed until Thompson Bus launches its website Sept. 5, their limited bus services will be transporting people and freight from Thompson to Gilliam, Cross Lake and Winnipeg several times a week, with many stops in between.
On Nov. 1, Thompson Bus will shift into providing full bus services in Northern Manitoba the day after Greyhound Canada shutters all their operations throughout Western Canada (outside of a single route running from Vancouver to Seattle, Washington).
“So we’re ready to rock,” said Pelk. “We’re going to take September and October to iron out all the kinks as this new company grows, so we’ll be fully functional and fully operational for Nov. 1.”
Right now, Thompson Bus has four vehicles. While they vary in size and carrying capacity, the larger buses will be able to accommodate 55 people and provide passengers with access to washrooms.
“It looks like we’re going to be the only company offering coaches with washrooms between here and Winnipeg,” said Pelk. “So I think that’s going to be a big, big draw for consumers that is going to put us head and shoulders everybody else.”
Even though prices could be subject to change, a one-way trip to Winnipeg will cost around $132.74, whereas Greyhound’s standard fare is $130 plus GST for the same route.
Representatives from Thompson Bus are also trying to schedule meetings with city staff and elected officials to determine what is to be done about local transit services after Greyhound – which provided drivers, maintenance and storage on a contract basis – ceases doing so Oct. 31.
The people behind Thompson Bus are already in talks with the municipal government of Snow Lake to try and expand their services westward.
Until their website goes live all questions related to Thompson Bus can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.