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Edmonton bus company launching northern Alberta routes

An Edmonton-based company is launching a new bus service in the northern part of the province.

With Greyhound Canada ending operations in Western Canada at midnight on Halloween, Cold Shot said it’s starting services in mid-November in northern Alberta, Edmonton to Red Deer and Calgary and interline connections to bus services into British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

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The company says its new facility in Edmonton will handle passenger and freight traffic and service its new fleet of 18 buses.

Cold Shot says its buses are smaller and less expensive to operate, which allows the company to offer lower rates for passenger and freight customers.

The company plans to increase its bus fleet to 35 by April 2019.

Cold Shot is an Alberta-owned company that’s been in operation since 2005.

This summer, and citing financial difficulties, Greyhound announced that it would be abandoning all but one of its routes in Western Canada, effective Oct. 31.

The venerable national motor coach operator is being replaced by a mix of provincial government-subsidized services, Indigenous-owned bus lines, locally owned startups, flexible fleets of shuttle buses and a scattering of formal and informal ride-sharing services.

In Alberta, the provincial government has launched pilot programs at a cost of $2.8 million to help five rural municipalities start inter-city bus services. One, centred on Camrose, about 100 kilometres south of Edmonton, has already started and the others are expected to begin over the next three months.

Regina-based Rider Express has acquired five full-sized 50-seat buses and plans to begin passenger service on a Vancouver-Calgary-Winnipeg route on the Trans-Canada Highway this week, followed in November by a Highway 16 route linking Edmonton and Saskatoon, said manager Shauna Hardy. Both routes will directly replace Greyhound routes.

Late last May, Calgary-based Pacific Western Transportation was hired by the province of British Columbia to operate its BC Bus North service after Greyhound cancelled service to communities including Prince Rupert and Dawson Creek.

Cold Shot will be providing more details about its new services on Wednesday morning.

— With files from The Canadian Press 

— More to come…

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