Red Deerians will gain a new bus service to Calgary and Edmonton when The Canada Bus starts operating this week.
On Saturday, the Calgary-based service will launch a daily route between Alberta’s two large centres. The Canada Buses will also pull off Hwy 2 to stop in front of the Travelodge in Red Deer to pick up and drop off passengers.
This will provide competition for Red Deer’s existing Red Arrow bus service to Edmonton and Calgary. Red Arrow is a Canada-owned bus company that has been operating since 1979.
The Canada Bus owner Sadender Singh said it was time to close gaps in service that opened up when Greyhound shut down its Western Canada operations in 2018.
“People have wanted to take a bus on the weekend and it’s not available, or it’s too expensive and they wanted to pay a cheaper price,” he said.
The Canada Bus is a private company and is not getting government funding. Singh said he has 20 years of experience in the transporation industry as owner of travel agencies and touring companies in Canada, the U.S. and India.
His company, with a fleet of five buses, also plans to start new routes between Calgary and Canmore and Banff next week.
Singh said a 56-passenger bus will be on the Calgary-Edmonton route. And he plans to increase service to twice daily runs between Alberta’s two largest centres, with a stop in Red Deer, after about mid-September.
There’s a demand for early morning bus service from Calgary to reach Red Deer in time for college classes, said Singh. His company is looking at introducing a student bus pass.
Alberta Transportation Minister Rajan Sawhney told Calgary media this is a “phenomenal” initiative, saying she’s heard from many Albertans that the service will be be beneficial, particularly to students and seniors.
The Canada Bus staff have also heard good public feedback. “We are getting (almost) too much interest,” said Singh, with many queries about fares and service.
“We are hoping to get a good response” in ridership, he added.
Fares from Red Deer to Edmonton or Calgary will cost $25. The company takes bookings to Calgary and Edmonton airports, and offers a 35 per cent discount off six-ticket packs.
Singh said there will be several passenger embarkment and drop-off locations in the two larger centres, as well as Cross-Iron Mills Mall near Airdrie. For more information, visit thecanadabus.com.