Greyhound moves Osoyoos passenger and freight service to Nk’Mip Corner Petro Canada station

By on November 7, 2017

Art Taylor, the general manager of the Nk’Mip Corner Petro Canada station in Osoyoos, is pleased to announce that starting last week Greyhound bus lines will be dropping off and picking up passengers and freight at the station seven days a week. (Keith Lacey file photo)

Greyhound Canada Bus Lines has changed its passenger pickup and drop off site from the former B.C. Visitor’s Centre at the intersection of Hwy. 3 and Hwy. 97 to the Nk’Mip Corner Petro Canada station in Osoyoos.

Greyhound will also be offering full freight service out of this new location, which means customers can now send parcels and freight from Osoyoos instead of having to make the drive to Oliver.

Greyhound had been using the B.C. Visitor’s Centre to pick up and drop off passengers for several years.

Art Taylor, general manager of the Nk’Mip Corner Petro Canada facility, said he contacted Greyhound Canada officials to offer the facility after the B.C. Visitor’s Centre recently closed.

Early in 2018, Destination Osoyoos will be moving into its former home and staff from that organization have already started moving equipment and furniture into the building.

“We had heard that Greyhound needed to find a new location,” he said. “We made it clear that we would love to have them here as we can provide a lot of convenient things like food and drinks for people taking the bus.

“Even more important, we worked out a deal so that local customers can now bring their parcels here as Greyhound has agreed to offer full freight service from this location. So instead of having to travel to Oliver to drop off packages and parcels, we will offer full freight service out of this location and I know a lot of Osoyoos residents are going to be very happy about that.”

Back in late September, Town of Osoyoos council directed senior administration to write a letter to the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board to voice their serious concerns about Greyhound Canada applying to drastically reduce service to Osoyoos and many other parts of the South Okanagan.

Only weeks after Greyhound announced they wanted to eliminate numerous bus routes in many parts of northern British Columbia, the company announced it had applied to the transportation board to reduce service to Osoyoos and eliminate service completely to Keremeos, Hedley and Princeton.

Greyhound has applied to reduce the daily service between Vancouver and Osoyoos to twice weekly in each direction.

For the time being, Osoyoos will continue to receive daily service from Greyhound, said Taylor.

From Monday to Thursday, a Greyhound bus will drop off passengers at Nk’Mip Corner at 8:45 a.m. There will be a one-hour stopover with a bus heading back towards Penticton at 9:45 a.m.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Greyhound will drop off passengers in Osoyoos at Nk’Mip corner at 2:10 p.m.

There is only a quick five-minute stop to allow new passengers to board and freight to be loaded and unloaded before the bus heads back north towards Penticton, he said.

Greyhound has already eliminated service for passengers looking to pass through Osoyoos and heading east towards Rock Creek, Greenwood and  towards the Kootenays.

“The bus will stop and leave from Osoyoos seven days a week,” said Taylor. “We’re now the end of the route for all Greyhound buses in this area.”

Passengers can now purchase all tickets and complete the paperwork for freight transportation at Nk’Mip Corner, said Taylor.

“If you’re a university student in Vancouver who plans on coming home for Christmas, your parents can come into our place and purchase the tickets in advance,” he said. “You can purchase tickets to every destination covered by Greyhound Canada at our location.”

Being able to offer full passenger and freight service from one location is going to be very beneficial for a lot of customers, said Taylor.

“It provides us another opportunity to provide community service to local residents and will obviously result in increased traffic for our business,” he said. “We get a small commission for ticket sales and handling freight, but those are designed just to cover our costs.

“We think that offering a one-stop shop for all Greyhound services is a big benefit to the community.”

Nk’Mip Corner is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. and the only day it closes is on Christmas day, he said.

If Greyhound notices a significant increase in passenger and freight traffic as a result of moving its pick up location to Nk’Mip Corner, Taylor believes they might reconsider their application to reduce service to Osoyoos and other parts of the South Okanagan, said Taylor.

“This application is part of an effort to offer a viable, streamlined intercity bus service in response to a challenging transportation environment that is characterized by diminishing ridership, escalating costs and increased competition from publicly subsidized services,” said Greyhound. “Despite significant efforts over the past several years to reduce costs, as well as other measures to adapt to the market, Greyhound continues to suffer important losses from its passenger operations in B.C.

“This application seeks to reduce minimum route frequencies to allow the company flexibility in adapting schedules to respond to market demand without the requirement of an application before the board. Service frequencies will not necessarily be reduced as a result. It also seeks to eliminate certain route points that have low passenger use.”

All Greyhound passenger operations across B.C. will continue to operate normally on all of the routes mentioned for possible reduction in service during the regulatory process.

KEITH LACEY

Osoyoos Times

 

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