Greyhound must decide its business

Kamloops Daily News
January 12, 2013 01:00 AM

The folks at Greyhound Canada really should decide whether they want to continue to operate a bus line or just park their once-mighty passenger service once and for all.

This week a Greyhound bus driver apparently abandoned his passengers at a gas station in Revelstoke, an incident that remains under investigation by the company.

The bewildered passengers on the Calgary-to-Vancouver run were eventually taken to Kelowna, fed and shipped off to their destination.

This incident comes on the heels of another public-relations nightmare that happened during the Christmas holidays.

Peter Van de Reep, who was trying to get to Calgary to spend Christmas at home, was among dozens of passengers stranded in Kamloops when, for whatever reason, the company was unable to complete their journey.

He and several others who were fortunate enough to have the cash arranged flights and were able to have their holidays at home. But those who couldn't afford to make alternative arrangements were left to cool their heels at the bus depot.

In Red Deer, Alta., also during the holidays, some Greyhound passengers felt as though the company gave them a lump of coal at Christmas.

Jessica Summers told the Red Deer Advocate that a 13-hour trip from Red Deer to Regina ended up taking 26 hours, with passengers forced to wait outside in the freezing cold while a replacement driver smoked a cigarette and packed the bus.

And a recent bus trip from Kamloops to Edmonton ended up hours behind schedule when it was announced -at the last minute - that the bus would be delayed while the company waited for a new driver.

More than two hours later, the bus finally departed Kamloops and made its way north.

No explanations, no apologies; just a bunch of tired, frustrated passengers who really had no other option but to wait.

Over the past few years the company has cut rural stops and eliminated the only mode of transportation for many people who used to rely on the bus to get to and from larger cities for visits with friends and relatives, make doctor's appointments and take care of other important matters.

Late last year, Thompson-Nicola Regional District directors vowed to fight an application by Greyhound to cut more routes in the Tournament Capital and surrounding towns.

They also struck upon a possible solution to the Greyhound dilemma. By ending its "monopoly" on service in B.C., smaller towns might just be able to preserve a lifeline to larger centres by securing service by smaller companies.

It's time the B.C. government and the Passenger Transportation Board, which regulates inter-city bus service in B.C., had a serious look at Greyhound's record and opened the door to increased competition.

© Copyright 2015 Kamloops Daily News

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