CSRD miffed about bus cutbacks

Greyhound: Directors to send letter outlining concerns for rural areas.

Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors have asked administration to write a letter to the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board expressing extreme disappointment over cuts to service.

Electoral area E Rural Sicamous director Rhona Martin said this is not the first time Greyhound has reduced service.

Martin told directors at last week’s board meeting in Salmon Arm that she recalls a time when Area E residents could flag a bus on the highway and it would stop for passengers, allowing them to pay on the bus or purchase their tickets at the next station.

As well, she said, buses would stop along the highway to let passengers off near their homes.

Now, she noted, passengers have to go to a depot to buy their tickets, which is difficult for elderly people or those without cars.

And, while she realizes the buses are sometimes running almost empty, she believes scheduling the trips better would draw more people to the service.

“This is just another way of eroding life in the rural area,” she says. “If you want to keep their seniors there, and they can’t drive any more…”

Area D Falkland-Silver Creek-Ranchero director René Talbot said Greyhound buses go through Falkland at  3:30 in the morning and return at 6 p.m.

“But you can’t buy a ticket in Falkland and though they stop, they won’t even pick up freight,” he complained.
 Salmon Arm director Debbie Cannon said she finds it hard to tell a business they should have more stops or more services if they can’t make it financially.

Area F North Shuswap director Larry Morgan concurred.

“They’re operating a private business. Are they going to look for subsidies from some level of government?” he asked. “CN back in the ’70s couldn’t make it without subsidies and they gradually phased out services.”

Martin suggested Greyhound should have sought community input before reducing service.

As well, she suggested, the company has a monopoly and if they were intent on reducing service, they should lose the monopoly. 
 Directors agreed that a letter protesting the cuts should be sent to B.C. Passenger Transportation Board, with Area C South Shuswap director Paul Demenok was opposed but offered no explanation.


Salmon Arm Observer

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