From: Marie Cleroux, thenorthbaybay.ca contributor
NORTH BAY – North Bay is ringing in the new year, and most are diving in to 2020 head first with unbridled, careless optimism. Other residents – one in particular – however, seems to be seeing a realistic problem and turning. This resident is looking to turn it into an opportunity for a better tomorrow.
Jake Richards isn’t a North Bay native. He is originally from Thunder Bay. He moved to North Bay back in 2014 for college and never managed to escape. He found North Bays city transit system was rather lacking.
“Back in Thunder Bay we had a pretty solid city transit system – apart from the racist bus drivers,” said Richards, “Anyways, Thunder Bay had GPS tracking on the buses and an app that would give estimated times of arrival. With this ability they put giant LED boards that displayed estimated times for the buses in popular locations. Places like the Inner City Mall and Confederation College. North Bay has nothing like that other aside from the Terminal.”
We contacted the North Bay City Terminal and they do, indeed, not have a giant LED Board at popular locations like the Northgate Mall.
“I was sitting waiting for the bus at the Northgate Mall when someone asked me how long until Marshal. So, I told them. And I thought… If I charged a small fee, I could make some cash while waiting.”
Richardson took his idea and evolved it into Bus Time Services. He invested in a lockbox, a small portable kiosk, and set up camp. The idea is that If someone needs to know when a bus will show up, they pay 50 cents for Richardson to tell them the estimated time.
“The first day was pretty rough. I had to explain what I was doing…like a lot of. But after people got the concept, it was smooth sailing. So many people either don’t have the data or just don’t care to look online. There’s literally tens of dollars just being left on the table!.”
Many appear to appreciate the service, but the Mall security aren’t taking too fondly to the new – admittedly illegal – entrepreneurial venture. At first he just aggressively slapped a “Lemonade Stand” sign onto his kiosk. In turn, he was slapped with fines (equally violently) for illegally dispensing Beverages without a license and not following proper safe food handling protocols. Trying to adapt, Richards instead started switching his sign to an “Illegal Drugs” sign. The police have left him alone since, like they do with every other drug dealer in this town.
With business doing well, Richardson has his eyes set on how he can capitalize on this opportunity.
“I have big plans! I will be acquiring a Square Reader to accept debit and credit card payments, as well as accepting E-Transfers. I already got a business number at 705-BUS-TIME. If you are not at the terminal or the Northgate Mall, you can call the number and we can remotely find how much longer it will take for the bus will arrive. Of course after we take a payment over the phone.”
Bus Time Services operates the same hours that the North Bay City Transit operates. Stop by and say hello to Jake Richards and tell him the North Bay Bay sent you for a special gift.