The new rural bus route will start up this year after all. Now dubbed the “County Connector”, the rural transportation pilot project will get rolling on December 5th.

The first phase of the pilot project will run buses from Clairmont and Sexsmith to Grande Prairie over the next two years. The second phase will add service to Wembley, Beaverlodge, and Hythe in early 2019.

Provincial funding of nearly $640,000 was announced in June and another $277,000 in GreenTRIP funding is going towards buying a bus. The County is also contributing $138,000 towards the cost of the bus and the City will operate the service.

Minister of Transportation Brian Mason is praising the City, County, and Town of Sexsmith for teaming up.

“This partnership… shows what can be accomplished when communities work together. This new pilot program is a big step forward for the residents of this area and will also help grow the local economy.”

The system will run Monday to Friday, other than statutory holidays. Weekends and holidays aren’t covered by the provincial grant.

Buses will make eight return trips a day to Sexsmith and Clairmont, starting at 6:40 a.m. and ending at 7:25 p.m. in the City. It’s been said but not confirmed they will take passengers to the Prairie Mall, QE II Hospital and the Towne Centre Mall.

The service will cost $5 each way. Travel for children under the age of 11 will be free.