With Greyhound cancelling its services in most of Western Canada, it has left many of us thinking, how will we get around without this essential service?
The truth is, their ridership numbers were probably on the decline because their level of service has become poorer and poorer throughout the years. I don’t totally know what they were doing that caused such a flip in customer service and route availability, but it became increasingly more painful to use the service.
Last summer, I took the bus to the airport in Calgary. The lack of available options meant that my only choice was to board the bus at 6 a.m. to make it into the city around 9 a.m. I didn’t have to be at the airport until 7 p.m., but there wasn’t any other option later in the day that would get me there on time.
I’m sure this doesn’t sound like the most important grievance I could claim, but there’s more. A few years ago, I went to purchase a ticket from Prince George to Vancouver after a long summer of work. The lady couldn’t book me the ticket, but assured me that if I showed up early the next day that I would be able to purchase one then. I couldn’t. There were no available buses out of the city for almost a week. Ridiculous.
The point is, if there were more options available, people would be more likely to use the service. We live in a world where gas prices are steadily climbing and our efforts to reduce our ecological footprint are growing as well.
Golden already has a rideshare group on Facebook, and that is good to see. Even with a better bus system, that group will continue to thrive because of the nature of travel in this area. As far as I can tell, only one bus heads south per day, and leaving in the early hours of the morning isn’t ideal.
Already, the provincial government is stepping up to provide some bus services. There are routes in between Prince Rupert, Valemount, and Fort Nelson. That doesn’t help those people get other places in the province. Hopefully, the B.C. government will see transit as a basic necessity, and will help us connect the communities around the province with transit.
There are many times I would have liked to take a bus, but it just hasn’t been feasible. This past week, it would have been great to take a bus from Golden to Calgary to catch a flight, but it just wasn’t possible.
With Greyhound on its way out, the province should be able to take the time to come up with a strategic plan on how to keep transit in our province. Or, perhaps private companies will start their own game of Monopoly, buying up property and creating new empires to take the place of the fallen Greyhound.