Bus company plans to reopen P.A. route

Firat Uray with a Rider Express bus in front of City Hall Tuesday. Arthur White-Crummey/Daily Herald

A week after announcing a halt to their P.A. route, Rider Express may soon be back on the road.

The private passenger bus company announced last Wednesday that it was shutting down its Saskatoon-Prince Albert route, which it claimed wasn’t profitable enough to justify the cost of a business license.

But company founder Firat Uray was at City Hall Tuesday to pay that fee. He told the Daily Herald that he hopes to start serving Prince Albert again this week.

“I am hoping I will hear from the city today or tomorrow,” he said. “If we hear that everything is ready, then we will start tomorrow. If not, then probably Friday.”

Uray said that he was still hoping to negotiate some kind of deferred payment plan with the city. He said city staff declined to compromise on their terms. Mayor Greg Dionne has said that a business license for the company would cost about $200 or $300.

“I was asking them, since I’m paying money to operate the service, can’t they give me a chance until the business grows up? Then I can pay them,” Uray explained. “But they refused, and we ended up putting the expense on our shoulders.”

Mayor Greg Dionne said he’s happy to see the matter resolved.

“I’m pleased that he was able to figure out his financial problems and that he’s trying to move forward again,” said Dionne. “I want to wish him all the best of luck.”

As Uray prepared to hop back in the driver’s seat of his bus and pull away from City Hall, he said he’s glad to get back to shuttling customers from Prince Albert.

“There are passengers taking cancer treatments, medical appointments,” he said. “It’s winter, so we don’t want to tell them no service.”