Bella Coola will soon have a new bus service all the way to Williams Lake and Kamloops. Tastefull Excursions, a company based in Kamloops, announced they will be providing the service beginning Oct. 4.
Gordon Stamp-Vincent, CFO and Shuttle Director for TasteFull Excursions became aware of the urgent need for transportation services in and out of Bella Coola and after consultation with his wife and business partner, Maatje. After consulting with some of the Bella Coola stakeholders, they made the decision to launch the new service due to the positive response. Service commences on Oct.4 with the first run from Kamloops to Bella Coola returning to Kamloops on Oct.5.
The couple have run a shuttle service out of Kamloops for the past several years, catering mostly to winter ski travel in and out of destinations such as Sun Peaks and Banff, as well as offering wine tours in the Thompson-Okanagan region.
The decision to launch the shuttle service to Bella Coola was two-fold; the obvious need for the service coupled with a downturn in their regular business due to COVID-19.
“90 percent of our business is international clients and this year they aren’t coming,” explained Gordon Stamp-Vincent. “I think there’s enough people that need to go back and forth, and if we can run in and out of Bella Coola this will provide people with a good service.”
Right now the plan is to offer the shuttle twice weekly, but Stamp-Vincent said it will all depend on demand and volume.
“We need a minimum number of people to book the service to make it viable,” he said. “At present we need approximately 50 percent capacity booked in and out to keep it running.”
The company uses 14 passenger vans but due to COVID-19 their passenger load is reduced to a maximum seating capacity is restricted to 9 passengers and a minimum of five pre-booked passengers is required to justify a run. They have implemented strong health and safety protocols including plexi shields behind seats, bus sanitization procedures and a mandatory mask requirement for drivers and passengers at all times while in the vehicle.
Passengers will be able to travel between all communities from Bella Coola to Kamloops subject only to seat availability. Westward runs to Bella Coola are scheduled for Sundays and Thursdays with eastward runs to Kamloops scheduled for Mondays and Fridays. Each run begins at 07:00 (7 a.m.) and ends at 19:00 (7 p.m.).
Advance reservations and pre-payment is required. For more information you can find them on Facebook at Tastefull Excursions Shuttle or you can call 1-844-314-4555.