Bus service from Creighton into Saskatchewan is on its way back, thanks to a new business initiative created by the Town of Creighton.
The service, named the Creighton Connection, will be provide passenger transport twice a week between Creighton and Prince Albert, including a connection to Saskatoon, on Mondays and Thursdays.
Fidler said while the idea of having a bus service to Saskatchewan locales had been in play since the shutdown of the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC) in 2017, work on the new service began in earnest about six months ago.
“It’s a very necessary service that was taken away, especially for northern communities. That's where this stems from anyway, the need for that service,” said Fidler of the initial STC closure,” he said.
“When we did our strategic planning and our survey throughout the community and did our discussions and our consultations, that was one of the biggest issues that came back from everybody.”
Fidler said the need for the service is particularly high for local seniors, many of whom relied on inter-community buses to see family or access medical care.
“For all the seniors that have to go on account for medical appointments, even for social issues, they can’t drive anymore or don’t feel safe driving anymore. Especially in the wintertime, we can’t blame them for not wanting to drive. That was one of the biggest things,” he said.
The Creighton Connection will take passengers between Creighton and Prince Albert, using a 15-passenger van and trailer purchased by the Town. Once in Prince Albert, travellers can transfer to another bus to Saskatoon, operated by Aurora Charter and Bus Service. Passengers can purchase a fare including both carriers. The price from Creighton to Prince Albert will be $80 plus GST, while a trip from Creighton to Saskatoon will be $115 plus GST. Travellers can purchase tickets and book seats either at the Creighton Town Office or online through the Creighton Connection Facebook page or the Town of Creighton website at townofcreighton.ca.
The service has a tentative start date of Feb. 3 and will be passenger transport only. Other options, like increasing the number of trips, may considered once the service begins operations.
“We’ll see what the usage is and we’ll go from there. We’re doing two runs a week and if the usage is there and if we have to increase that, we can do that as well,” Fidler said.
“If there’s enough call for it and enough usage, we could add another run for a week or adding another vehicle as well.”
The service is funded through Northern Creighton Development Inc. (NCD), a new economic development group created by the Town of Creighton and town council. Using funds remaining from the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), Fidler said the NCD will be able to operate the service without drawing a dime from existing tax money.
“It’s money we got a few years back for projects for the betterment of the community. That’s where we’re getting money to start this project,” he said.
“It’s at arms-length from the Town.”
Some final touches need to be completed before the route begins operating. The Town has not yet officially taken position of the van and still needs to hire drivers and put up signage.
More projects may come soon from the NCD, but Fidler remained tight-lipped as to what they may be.
The mayor said he hoped the plan would be successful from both a business and community standpoint.
“The goal is to make it successful, but it’s to bring the service back to the residents of the area. It’s a much-needed service we’ve been without for the last couple of years. That’s what we want to do, to be able to bring that service back.”