A month after STC buses were parked for good, a Saskatchewan company has been approved to take over some of its routes.
DiCal Transport, a Melville-based courier service, was one of many companies to do hearings with the Highway Traffic Board after STC was shuttered.
Owner and operator Diane Smith said she got a call that her company was approved Thursday morning.
“We’re really excited. We’ve been anxiously awaiting for the final piece of paper so we can start operating this service,” she said.
This wasn’t an easy journey for DiCal.
DiCal originally wanted to start operating June 1, just two weeks after STC’s passenger service ended. But its permit was stalled. The company, as all the others who applied for routes, also ran into backlash from people upset about STC’s closure.
“We were all subject to the same type of backlash from the same group of protestors,” Smith said. “All of us that applied for operating authority certainly were dragged into the political dispute and essentially chastised for wanting to fill a void.”
Not that she wasn’t prepared for it. Smith said she’d previously done de-escalation and CPR training with her drivers. The Highway Traffic Board also requires her buses to have security monitoring and GPS.
DiCal will be offering the passenger bus service in Yorkton, Melville, Balcarres, Fort Qu’Appelle and Regina.
The first trip will happen on July 10, as Smith said she needs time to advertise that they’re up and running. She added that there was a list of 35 people to call and 46 emails to respond to about her service. She said her Facebook page had 14,000 hits since news broke about the approval.
“I’m certain we’re going to have passengers and we’re going to be busy,” she said.
According to Smith, there are also plans to expand the service to communities like Canora, Kamsack, Preeceville and Sturgis in the near future.
“I just want to get this first leg established.”
Smith said DiCal’s website will be updated with information about schedules and fees by end of day Friday.