Travel outside of Williams Lake continues to be a challenge for people who don’t own a vehicle.
Town Taxi in Williams Lake has been working on extending service to Kamloops and even Chilliwack, said office manager George Johnson.
“We have purchased a 15-passenger van and right now can legally carry 10 passengers in it,” Johnson said. “We’ve also applied to have a 24-passenger bus.”
There are limitations, such as the price a taxi company has to charge for rides.
A cab fare from Williams Lake to Kamloops is about $700, so it will only be feasible if there are more riders to share the cost.
“We’ve had some interest but only two to three people at one time. We would need at least eight people to make it work.”
Merritt Shuttle Bus Services announced in October plans to develop bus and freight service through the Cariboo as far as Prince George and confirmed in January they have found an investor.
“I have to talk to Community Futures to see if they will match whatever he will invest, and then BDC said they would give us two thirds of whatever the investor invests, so either way I’m hoping to come up with enough,” said Gene Field, co-owner.
He is hoping to have funding confirmed by the end of January, acquire the buses in February, and launch in March.
“We still have to hire some drivers — we’ve lost some because of the delay.”
The Health Connections bus running from Williams Lake to Kamloops only runs on Mondays and has not seen an increase of use in 2018.
Between April and November in 2018, 610 riders used the service, slightly below the same period in 2017 when 625 people rode the bus, confirmed Interior Health.
The bus departs from Williams Lake at 7:30 a.m. from the A&W parking lot, 100 Mile House at 8:30 a.m., Clinton at 9:30 and Cache Creek at 10:15 a.m. arriving at Kamloops at 11:30 a.m.
It departs from Kamloops at 3 p.m. Monday, stopping at each community and arriving in Williams Lake by 7 p.m.
Customers must confirm a seat the previous Friday by calling 250-398-7812 or 1-866-398-7812.
A one-way fare is $5.
Normally seats on the bus, which is serviced by BC Transit and jointly funded by the Cariboo Regional District and Interior Health, are reserved for non-medical emergency patients travelling for medical appointments, but if there are seats available can be used by the general public.