THUNDER BAY – BUSINESS – Since Greyhound discontinued intercity bus service in Northern Ontario there has been a major gap in the transportation network. Kasper Transportation, based in Thunder Bay has sought to fill that vital gap in building its bus services.
Greyhound Canada suspended all routes west of Sudbury on October 31, 2018
Following the late 2019 announcement of the Grey Transit Route (GTR), and Voyago’s agreement with Owen Sound, transit service provider Kasper Transportation is questioning the communities’ use of Intercity Grant Program funds. As a result, Kasper Transportation has decided to move forward with plans to operate its own routes between Owen Sound and Guelph, and within Grey County.
In 2016, Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation announced the Intercity Community Grant program. It was intended to give funding to towns and municipalities in order to make arrangements with existing, licensed intercity bus service operators. Grey County and Owen Sound were instructed to utilize the Request for Proposal (RFP) process to solicit bids from vendors best qualified to complete the project.
Kasper Wabinski, CEO of Kasper Transportation, says, “Despite the RFP process in place to ensure transparency and public accountability, Grey County and Owen Sound’s unreasonable proposal requirements and selective submissions pretty much ensured all applicants would be rejected, including Kasper Transportation. Due to receiving “non-compliant proposals”, the communities acted on the clause that they could negotiate with a vendor of their choice regardless of suitability or licensing. Now, instead of making arrangements with an existing, fully licensed transit provider capable of taking on the routes – as outlined in the funding requirements – Grey County and Owen Sound are creating and utilizing companies that simply do not have the resources or experience to be successful.”
Kasper Transportation is a family-owned and operated transportation company established in Northwestern Ontario since 2015. Today, Kasper Transportation has established depots in Thunder Bay and Winnipeg along with sheltered stops in over 40 locations across Ontario and Manitoba. They serve over 20,000 passengers annually on 8 scheduled routes with a current fleet of 26 vehicles and over 30 staff.
Wabinski continues, “We are disappointed that Grey County and Owen Sound have exploited the RFP process in order to experiment with their grant funding. Kasper Transportation had the required public vehicle license, vehicle capacity, web-based technology, operational experience, and consumer knowledge to operate along the proposed routes. Despite the outcome, we’re happy to announce that Kasper Transportation will be running our own routes between Owen Sound and Guelph, as well as within Grey County.”
Wabinski believes Kasper Transportation’s experience and low start-up cost and time will prove to be beneficial, “We’re a great example of how a small, privately owned business can maneuver the sector much more efficiently. While GTR and Owen Sound’s contractors of choice have taken months to get their ducks in a row, we’ve already established a pick-up and drop-off area at the Guelph downtown transit terminal, extended our hours of operation between 7am and 10pm, and we’ve been able to quickly respond and make adjustments based on customer feedback.”
Those looking for more information about Kasper Transportation, and their Owen Sound and Grey County routes, are encouraged to visit gokasper.com.