Powell River is without bus service to the Lower Mainland.
The following advisory has been posted to the Sunshine Coast Connector website:
Bus is cancelled due to mechanical issue until further notice. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause. Please check our webpage and Facebook for updates. If you have any questions please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phone calls by the Peak to Sunshine Connector have gone unanswered and emails have not received a reply.
Sunshine Coast Connector Ltd. had filed an application to the Passenger Transportation Board on June 26, 2019, to amend the terms and conditions of the licence to reduce the minimum route frequency from year-round operation to seasonal operation, from May 15 to September 15, on the route between Powell River and Langdale Terminal on the Sunshine Coast. The amendment of licence is awaiting a Passenger Transportation Board decision.
According to the Passenger Transportation Board website, the bus company’s rationale for reduction in operation from 12 months to four was due to a challenging transportation environment that is characterized by declining ridership, increased competition from subsidized passenger transportation services, the new entry of ultra-low cost carriers and increased car travel.
Sunshine Coast Connector began offering service between Powell River and the Lower Mainland in mid-2016 after Malaspina Coach Lines ceased operations in September 2015.
One solution being examined is the cooperation between qathet Regional District (qRD) and Sunshine Coast Regional District, which both have bus services operating.
At a recent joint meeting between qRD and Sunshine Coast Regional District, busing on the Sunshine Coast was discussed. qRD chair Patrick Brabazon said there is a shared concern among both regional districts.
“They are also concerned about the lack of transportation down there,” said Brabazon. “We established that they have a different transportation system than we do. That was good because we now understand what each side can contribute. We’ve discussed the options and directed our senior staff to come up with a proposal that we can take to the local municipalities and the local first nations. The two regional districts will work hand in hand and we’ll be off to the minister, I presume.”
Brabazon said there are no quick solutions to resolving the busing issue between Powell River and Langdale.
“As I’ve said many times, there will be no local government bus running by Christmas,” said Brabazon. “Well, there might be, but I don’t know which year.”
He said the two regional governments have cleared the air on some misunderstandings about what each side can contribute and there is now a better idea of what can be done together.
At the Tuesday, October 1, City of Powell River committee of the whole meeting, mayor Dave Formosa said he and councillor George Doubt had met with Brabazon and qRD chief administrative officer Al Radke, talking about the bus linkage to the lower Sunshine Coast.
Formosa said it is clear that matters will not happen quickly, but will take a long time.
“I think that after our meeting, I felt really optimistic that chair Brabazon got a new flash of optimism,” said Formosa. “It’s going to take everyone working together.”
Formosa said he sees a yearning on the part of the BC government to help with the matter. He said the premier and ministers responsible weighed in on the issue at the recent Union of BC Municipalities convention.
Doubt said when the issue of transportation came up at the UBCM meeting, the minister of transportation and representatives from BC Transit listened very intently to local concerns about transportation up and down the Sunshine Coast.