UPDATE: Thompson Valley Charters delays start of new route until Thursday, May 20, to abide by BC Health COVID-19 travel advisory.
After two and a half years of no bus service through the North Thompson Valley from Kamloops to Edmonton travelers will be more than happy to learn that will all be changing on May 3 of this year thanks to Thompson Valley Charters (TVC) in Kamloops.
TVC owner Roger Nadeau says the new route will go from Kamloops to Edmonton with stops in Barriere, Clearwater, Blue River, Valemount, Jasper, and then into downtown Edmonton.
“It’s going to start May 3,” said Nadeau, “The bus will go up to Edmonton on Monday, come back on Tuesday, and then go up Thursday and come back on the Friday.”
He says the new route is a big step and also an exciting one.
“It was time, we now own the company outright, we’re growing, and we have to diversify. We started planning this the beginning of last August. We had everything in place, and then had to wait until we got our application with the Public Transportation Board approved to run this run in B.C. It has taken about eight months to get it going, but we are finally ready.
“Our business is totally family run. My son Ian is our general manager and he looks after all the day to day stuff. I basically do sales, and my wife Diane does all the paperwork. We have two full time mechanics and about 40 drivers, although not everyone is working right now because of course nothing is moving with the pandemic.”
Nadeau says that he and Ian made them trip up to Edmonton last week.
“We did a run up there in our pickup and stopped at all the appropriate stops that the bus will be stopping at. We talked to everybody, and everybody was ecstatic that our new route will be coming up.”
Thompson Valley Charters has been in Kamloops for over 30 years, and Nadeau says his main contract in the summer is the Rocky Mountaineer which requires 30 buses. NTS also provide bus service to nine hockey teams in the Kamloops area (the Storms, the Centennials, and the Blazers), said Nadeau, adding, “They know who I am and they trust me. I’m the Kamloops Blazers driver, and I still do that to this day.”
He says that TVC currently owns six coaches and next week he will be flying to Quebec City to pick up a new one “that will have all the bells and whistles” just for this new run.
Nadeau notes an important fact about the new run is TVC will be teaming up with Ebus, “So that when the Ebus comes into Kamloops at 11:45 a.m. from Vancouver and Kelowna the passengers can hook up with the TVC bus leaving Kamloops at 12 noon to travel up the North Thompson and on to Edmonton. Then once in Edmonton TVC hooks up with Ebus arrivals in Edmonton to bring travelers back to Kamloops by 4:40 p.m. so they can make connections with Ebus to Vancouver or Kelowna at 5 p.m.”
Ticket fees are already set. To get from Barriere to Kamloops the cost will be $20, Clearwater to Kamloops $35, Blue River to Kamloops $55, and Valemount to Kamloops $75. Kamloops to Edmonton is $199. If traveling from Barriere to Edmonton it would be $179.
“We’ve worked quite hard around our schedule with Ebus so we can make this work,” said Nadeau, “Our buses hold 52 passengers, and everybody has to wear a mandatory mask. We have electrostatic sprayers that we use after every trip to spray everything down in the bus, and they are portable so each bus will have one. We’re clean fanatics over here, and more so now. The buses have to be all washed down after every trip, and when the bus gets to Edmonton the hydrostatic sprayer is used to spray it down completely, then when it gets back to Kamloops I have a crew that will just go right through that whole bus.
“As of right now we do not have any wheelchair accessibility, I am hoping to add that in the fall, but it costs a lot of money to buy a new bus.
“This is a big venture, I am hoping that this will work, we will be getting into Edmonton at 10:30 at night and it was very important for me not to have to travel through the night. We leave Kamloops at noon and make stops all the way up, then on the way back we leave Edmonton at 7:45 in the morning to come back to Kamloops.”
No midnight driving and no getting up at 3 a.m. to ride a bus.
For more information go to Thompson Valley Charters website at: TVCbus.ca
Tickets for the Kamloops to Edmonton route will will be available mid-April by going online to Ebus: www.myebus.com
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