Merritt Shuttle Bus Service says it should be up and running by March 1st if not before then in the Cariboo after having received an extension of Feb. 28 by the Passenger Transporation Board to be operational by.

Director of operations, Gene Field admits they were ready to accept that it might not happen.

“My wife she went back to work full time again because we needed the money to come in to pay the bills,” he said.

“And I finally got to speak with the one investor that I was emailing back and forth with, and he said he’s willing to do it and liked the terms that we had for him, and then with the help of Community Futures and BDC we should be able to have enough to get the buses.”

Community Futures will match the investor’s funds for the purchase of the buses with BDC providing two-thirds of what the investment was.

Field adds that because they will be buying the buses in bulk they will be getting a discount.

“I’ve got two guys that both own four buses each that we want. The one guy is giving me a really good deal on four buses and the other guy has four buses and two shuttle buses so I’m going to see what kind of deal he’s going to give me, and then there’s half of our fleet right there and then it’s just a matter of getting some more shuttle buses,” he said.

“We’re excited.”

Field says because it has taken them this long, they will have to hire some new staff because some of them have found employment elsewhere.

“That’s okay though,” he said.

“We’ll get the right people in the right spot and we’ll be up and going again.”

Passenger Pickup and drop off locations in Williams Lake will tentatively be at Husky, in Quesnel at 7-Eleven, and in 100 Mile at the former Greyhound location. The bus service will offer passenger service for most of the Fraser Canyon with routes from Merritt to Prince George, Merritt to Langley, and Merritt to Kelowna.

Cargo service will also be available.

To help fill the void left by Greyhound, Town Taxi in Williams Lake announced last month that their charter van will be making trips to Kamloops. Dispatcher Tracie said as their customers were asking and the opportunity was there, they decided to take it.

“The support from the community has been awesome,” she said.

(Editor’s Note listen to Gene Field in the audio file below)