Carpe Diem Limo Service applying to take over STC routes
Company wants to maintain passenger and freight services across the province
A Saskatchewan limousine company has applied to take over STC bus routes.
The Highway Traffic Board confirmed Thursday that it received the application from Carpe Diem Limousine Service.
All STC services will end by May 31 after funding for the service was cut in the provincial budget released last month. Derrick Engen, CEO and owner of Carpe Diem, aims to have his company operating the routes operating by May 23.
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"The passenger issue is a big one in this sparsely-populated province of ours, but we still think it's a vital service," said Engen.
In addition to offering a passenger service, Carpe Diem will also offer parcel and freight services, just as STC does.
"Cargo is very important, I think, to the general infrastructure of our province. We need these parcels to get to different places, whether it be Hudson Bay or La Ronge or wherever," said Mitch Blyth, general manager of Carpe Diem.
Applicant considers cost, profitability
STC, as a Crown corporation, was largely unprofitable. The Regina-to-Saskatoon route was the only profitable line offered.
The profitability of acquiring and operating these bus routes is a key factor for Engen.
"STC had already decided to use smaller vehicles, and that will help a great deal with fuel, maintenance — everything," he said.
"We plan on running a lot more efficiently. We've been watching the STC and obviously the big, 54-passenger buses aren't full, so we can run this a lot more cost effectively," he added.
To deal with costs, Engen said he wanted to start what he called a "feeder" service, which essentially means Carpe Diem drivers would be bringing passengers from more remote locales or towns without service to bus routes.
He has also said he would be interested in bidding on current STC buses and stock, but will not able to do so in time for May 23. The company already has a fleet of smaller buses.