British Columbia

Private bus shuttles aim to fill Greyhound void in B.C.

Greyhound Canada's plan to shut down bus services across British Columbia sent a shockwave through local communities that rely on the transportation company — but for some, it's a business opportunity.

For some, the bus company's closure of routes throughout B.C. is a business opportunity

All but one Greyhound route in B.C. will be cancelled by the end of October. (CBC)

Greyhound Canada's plan to shut down bus services across British Columbia sent a shockwave through local communities that rely on the transportation company — but some have seen it as a business opportunity.

One Kamloops, B.C., couple is looking to start a new shuttle service between their home city and the airports in Kelowna and Vancouver to provide easier access to international flights.

"We're surveying to see where the demand is," said Gretchen Zirnhelt, who is launching the business with her husband.

Although they are still in the initial marketing stages, Zirnhelt says they've had immense support for their Super-G Shuttles idea. 

"It's been a little bit overwhelming, the positive feedback and information that people are just throwing at me," she told Shelley Joyce, host of CBC's Daybreak Kamloops.

Neither Zirnhelt nor her husband have a background in transportation — although he has a class one commercial driver's licence — but they saw the local demand as a good business opportunity.

"It's not just Kelowna that's in need," she said. "And it's not just the airport service — people want to get to these cities for multiple reasons."

Once the airport shuttle takes off — the service should be running by January — the couple plan to look at other routes and communities.

'Definitely a demand ... for the service'

They're not the only people with big plans for when Greyhound stops all but one of its B.C. routes on Oct. 31.

Fritz Keller, who runs Silver City Stage Lines out of Trail, B.C., has worked on contract with Greyhound for nearly a decade and doesn't plan to leave the industry.

He's applied to the Transportation Passenger Board to run a daily service between several cities in the Kootenays.

"It was just a no-brainer for me to apply," Keller said. "There is definitely a demand and a need here for the service."

His 12-person van service would run six days a week between Castlegar, Trail, Grand Forks, Greenwood, Midway and Rock Creek.

"The plan is to do that throughout the winter and then see how the communities support my service," he said.

"When there will be a need to go with a bigger bus, then I would upgrade in the spring to probably a 22- or 24-passenger bus."

With files from Daybreak South, Daybreak Kamloops and Brady Strachan

Read more from CBC British Columbia

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