Connecting the People and Communities of Alberta for 40 years! | Red Arrow
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Connecting the People and Communities of Alberta for 40 years!

R.B. Colborne, Red Arrow’s founder, had a vision to elevate the perception of bus travel in Alberta and thus was inspired to launch the luxury inter-city passenger coach service called Red Arrow on July 9, 1979. The business class coaches on the original Calgary-Edmonton-Fort McMurray Route were always ahead of their time; with single row privacy seating, complimentary snacks and refreshments, the first commercial coaches to have seatbelts, pay-per-use cellular phones, and at one time a business centre, complete with fax machine and printer, all in accessible units.

Celebrate with us!

We're so proud to be an Alberta based and family owned business success story and we want to mark this milestone by giving back to our passengers, our employees, and the communities in which we operate.

Be sure to check back with us and follow along on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don't miss out on these 40th Anniversary activities happening all summer:

  • Giving 40 free trips away. This will be through random draws, contests, and giveaways, both in person and online
  • Presenting a Lifetime Travel Pass to a deserving long time passenger
  • Birthday Party! Having cake and coffee for passengers at all of our ticket offices across Alberta on July 9, 2019 – our actual birthday
  • Thanking our dedicated staff for all their hard work with celebratory birthday parties in all offices. Sorry, these ones are staff only :)
  • Showcasing long time, dedicated employees by sharing “Employee Spotlights” on our website and across our social media channels
  • Participating in local events and parades in many of the Alberta communities in which we operate
  • Sharing our many milestones and personal stories throughout the next few months

A look back

Our first coaches to hit the road in included single row privacy seating, which was a game changer in the bus industry! Inspired by the idea of the business traveler needing the space and comfort to relax or get some work done, people now could spread out in a single seat, enjoying their own personal space.

Always staying on the cutting edge of innovation and with a focus on a luxury passenger experience, we continued to improve and adapt with the times, at one time installing a pay-per-use cellular phone and business centre, complete with a fax machine and printer. This was revolutionary for bus transportation and offered a high-end experience for travelers. Now, people travelling between cities could get even more work done on the road and make the best use of their commute.

Just like an airplane, complimentary snacks and refreshments on the coaches were another perk that made us stand out from the competition. Coffee, tea, soda, and cookies are still available on our coaches today - just in case you are feeling a little peckish on your trip!

We were the first to offer commercial coaches with seat belts, reinforcing our commitment to ensure that passengers arrive Safely Home. Safely Home is our brand that represents our deepest commitment to safety and is the ultimate promise we make to each other, to the communities where we operate in, the public and to our customers we value deeply.

Our founder

R.B. Colborne was born in Calgary on January 11, 1927. He founded the Pacific Western Group of Companies in 1957, soon establishing himself as a leader in the transportation industry. Colborne wanted to change the way people look at bus transportation, conceptualizing a truly unique bus service that we still see today. Red Arrow Motorcoach officially opened it's doors on July 9, 1979, and is still the only luxury inter-city passenger service of it's kind in Canada.

Still living R.B. Colborne's vision today:

With a proven track record of exceptional dedication to safety and customer service over the past 40 years, Red Arrow continues to offer a unique travel experience with features such as free WiFi, fold down tray tables, onboard entertainment, seatbelts, complimentary snacks and refreshments, generous luggage allowance, wheelchair accessibility, and comfortable single seating.

R.B. Colborne's family is still at the helm, with his children Lynne, Catherine, and Rick all on our Board of Directors, and Mike Colborne leads the entire PWT Group of Companies as our Chairman and CEO. Mike has been quoted as attributing the success of Red Arrow to to the people who work here, “Although our impressive coaches may be the signature trademark for the company, it’s the commitment and talents of our people who truly define the Red Arrow brand.”

We now serve 26 communities across Alberta and look forward to the next 40 years of continuing to innovate and embrace new technologies to enhance our passenger experience even further, while ensuring our travelers get Safely Home.