Tisdale Bus Lines expands to Thunder Bay, Ont. after Caribou Coach closure

A bus company from northeastern Ontario is expanding to Thunder Bay after Caribou Coach Transportation ceased its operations due to "tough economic times" earlier this month.

The charter bus company serves northeastern Ontario regions like Timmins, Sudbury

After the demise of Caribou Coach Transportation in early January 2018, Tisdale Bus Lines announced they will be expanding their charter-bus service to northwestern Ontario. (Tisdale Bus Lines / Facebook)

A bus company from northeastern Ontario is expanding to Thunder Bay after Caribou Coach Transportation ceased their operations due to "tough economic times" earlier this month.

Tisdale Bus Lines is a charter bus company that operates in Timmins, Sudbury, North Bay and the surrounding areas.

After the demise of Caribou Coach in the northwest, Tisdale's owner Ron Malette said he decided to jump on the opportunity to expand his company's services as they've "always had an eye out for [this] region."

"Back in late December I was approached by Caribou [Coach] indicating that they couldn't see themselves continuing business in the Thunder Bay market," Malette continued. "For us to grow, we felt that northwestern Ontario was a big advantage to us."

As a charter bus company, Malette said their business model is a bit different compared to Caribou Coach and believes it can succeed in the region.

"I think the business model that Caribou [Coach] is using is different than our approach at this point...we do a lot of the post-secondary varsity team work, we do a lot of commercial contract things with the mining sector and schools — as an example — are also a large user of our services," Malette explained.

Tisdale Bus Lines owner, Ron Malette says their business model is different than Caribou Coach's. He says they do a lot of transportation for post-secondary varsity teams, as well as commercial contracts with the mining sector and schools. (Tisdale Bus Lines / Facebook)

The company has been running in the region since the first week of January 2018, Malette said, adding that they plan to continue to slowly move into Thunder Bay to determine the specific challenges and needs of the region.

"We plan on spending some time in that market shortly...within the next four to six weeks," he said. "[To let] people know who we are and what we can do for them."

Malette added that the company has already hired one driver out of the Thunder Bay area and hopes to hire more.

"We do have a list of potential employees that we are looking at and as soon as we can justify the need to put in additional equipment into the Thunder Bay market, then we can start acquiring staff," he said.

According to Malette, the company has rented space from Greyhound in Thunder Bay as a base of operations.

With files from Jeff Walters