Monday, July 15, 2019

BC Government seeks bids for Operators of BC Bus North

The BC Bus North program is looking for bids for a new contract period
(Photo from BC Gov't)

The Province of British Columbia is looking for someone to take over the BC Bus program that links Prince Rupert to Prince Rupert providing connections east and west to many communities in between along the Highway 16 corridor and other areas of Northern BC.

The service was introduced in June of 2018 as an answer to the abandonment of service by Greyhound Canada across Northern British Columbia.

The current service is operated by Pacific Western, with trips between Prince Rupert and Prince George departing the Prince Rupert Highliner Inn on Fridays and Sundays at 8 AM; the journey westbound to the north Coast takes place on Thursday's and Saturday's with arrival at the Highliner at 7:25PM

Route map for BC Bus North
(Province of BC)

The Province provided the details of the competitive process through a Request for Proposal from mid Friday afternoon.

BC Transit which is overseeing the calls for proposals outlined the three achievements that they are hoping to reach from the bid process:

1. To provide inter-city scheduled passenger transportation service, through the operation of a safe, efficient, reliable and customer-service orientated passenger transportation management company with well-trained, supervised, managed and motivated professional drivers, maintenance staff, dispatchers, management and supporting staff using clean and well-maintained vehicles. 

2. To deliver services in a manner that maximizes ridership, increases passenger revenues, maximizes positive customer comments, minimizes negative customer comments, minimizes fuel consumption, works diligently to protect the environment and provides these services at reasonable cost. 

3. To provide experience and knowledge in the development and/or operation of new revenue generating or cost reduction proposals to improve the affordability of Inter-city passenger transportation services within the region, thereby supporting the long-term sustainability and viability of inter-city passenger services in Northern BC.

The successful applicant would see the contract start no later than January 1st 2020 and last until March 31st of 2021, with a potential for extension to June 2021.

"Many people depend on the bus in northern B.C. This is an important step towards creating and sustaining reliable inter-city bus service in the North. We remain committed to safe, reliable and affordable transportation, so people can get to work or school, access the services they need and have the freedom to travel." -- Claire Trevena, B.C.'s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure

When it comes to what will be considered a successful contract performance, BC Transit highlighted  areas they will be reviewing once the contract has been awarded and the service is underway.

a. The Service Provider’s ability to meet or exceed the Inter-City Transportation Service obligations outlined in the contract and any other agreements that relate to operating Inter-City transportation services in Northern British Columbia 

b. The Service Provider’s ability to deliver services in a manner consistent with the requirements of this RFP and the assertions made in their Proposal; 

c. The Service Provider’s ability to keep operating costs within agreed levels; 

d. The Service Provider’s success in meeting or exceeding key performance goals; or where no goal is stated, their proven efforts in managing the activities they are responsible for in a manner that supports continuous improvement; 

e. The Service Provider’s ability to provide innovative Inter-City services that result in improvements in cost efficiency, high service reliability and strong customer service; 

f. The Service Provider’s ability and willingness to proactively identify and manage risks.

BC Transit provided a small glimpse into some of the user stats for the service along Highway 16, listing the stats from June 1 2018 to May 21 2019  for many of the communities served by the BC North service.

For Prince Rupert the total ridership numbers indicated that there were 688 passengers on the Saturday run from that period, while 850 passengers were counted on the Thursday run during the year long statistical review.

More background on Friday's RFP announcement can be found here.

A wider look at the province's calls for proposals process can be explored from 40 page prospectus posted to the BC Bids site,  you can find it listed under the BC Transit requests for Proposals.

The Deadline for interested transportation providers to deliver their proposals is August 23rd at 2 PM

A look at the current BC Bus North system can be reviewed here.

Some of our past notes on the BC Bus North Program can be explored below:


March -- Highway 16 Transportation passenger program and MLA Rice receive accolades in Legislature statement
January -- Province celebrates success of Highway 16 Transportation program


November -- BC Bus North schedule changes take effect Monday
October -- MLA Rice hails advances, recounts history on themes of highway transportation across Northern BC
July -- Northwest BC models could offer options for Federal Provincial governments on Greyhound line closures
July  -- BC North Bus proving to be popular option for Northwest
May -- Province introduces BC North Bus; Transportation service across Highway 16 corridor to start June 4th
May  -- City of Prince Rupert to support Nathan Cullen's call for federal attention to Highway 16 transportation issues, add on concerns over VIA Rail as well

For more notes related to Ground Transportation around the Northwest see our archive page here.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

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