We asked readers to tell us how the shutdown of Queen City Shuttle and Charters affected them. Here’s what they had to say (some responses have been edited for length and clarity). For our feature on the company’s closure, click here.
With the loss of Greyhound service last year, options for getting to Yasodhara Ashram have been reduced. Now with Queen City Shuttle closing at the beginning of our busy season, we have the added stress of sending a car and driver two or three times each week between the East Shore and Castlegar. This is a significant draw on our human resources and increases our costs, carbon use and wear-and-tear on our vehicles.
We have written to all guests who have not already booked to encourage them to choose the same arrival and departure times on specific days but it doesn’t always work. We hope a new service will start up soon.
I was the district principal for School District 8’s Kootenay Lake International Program and the closure of the shuttle service put a significant strain on the ability of our small program to compete with larger school districts for enrolling students.
The shuttle service was $35 but when agents or parents arrive at the airport and we cannot get there to pick them up then we pay $105 one way for a taxi. As a result, this means that staff and myself must spend far too much time driving back and forth to the airport. This is not cost effective nor is it a good use of time and reduces productivity on the job.
The more difficult we make it for people to visit and maneuver easily while in the area, the less likely they will return to the area or come for an initial visit, schooling or job.
I live in Buenos Aires and visit the Kootenays every year to see my aunt, Milu, who’s been living in Argenta since I was born. I am 43.
The usual way to get there is to fly from Buenos Aires to Toronto, then Calgary, then Castlegar. There I take the shuttle and wait somewhere in Nelson until somebody can take me to Argenta.
But this year everything will be different. I don’t drive so I can’t rent a car, and I have no other chance than depending on someone who could pick me up at Castlegar airport and take me to Nelson.
Companies like Queen City should be considered a public service. How would people leave the airport if they didn’t have someone to pick them up or enough money to pay for a taxi?
We run retreats throughout the summer — four different sessions. In the past, we’ve relied on Queen City to get our participants from the Castlegar airport to Nelson. This year has been a gong show with trying to round up drivers (aka friends) who can do the multiple trips. When we have four-plus people, we have been using Glacier Cabs as it has been an affordable option. Anything less than four and we need to find a driver.
I’ve also been trying to book Glacier Cabs ahead of time and they said they are getting multiple calls a day for pre-bookings. This isn’t a normal service that they do but are now adjusting some of their business to accommodate for this increase in vehicles driving outside of town.
Tourists and locals travel to and from the Spokane airport to Nelson and Rossland daily. Working with Queen City Shuttle and Charters throughout the ski season provided a reliable, guaranteed service that enabled us to expand our tourism market into the US, using Spokane as a gateway into Canada.
With the closing of QCS this opportunity has been temporarily terminated. However, we are working with two other businesses on potential deals to keep the winter shuttle available. It was sad to see QCS close, but it has also opened the door for other businesses to step in and provide creative options to service travellers, and locals.
The winter shuttle throughout the ski season for the past five years was subsidized by Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism, Whitewater Ski Resort, Red Mountain Resort and Tourism Rossland. We are all working together again to solidify a reliable, daily, winter shuttle to Spokane.
Executive director, Nelson and Kootenay Lake Tourism
For the past 20 years I have been coming to Nelson for an annual vacation. This year, I was scheduled to fly into Castlegar on June 10. Given that Nelson is very walkable, I don’t bring my vehicle up and prefer to fly. A few days before arrival this year, I received an email from Queen City Shuttle stating they were going out of business at 5 p.m. on that day.
I immediately sent an email back asking how I could get my prepaid return ticket of $42 refunded. There was no response, so I contacted the Mastercard dispute resolution to try to get a refund through them. This was successful, but not before I had faxed all my documents to them.
In any case, I don’t think I can rely on the kindness of strangers to get from Castlegar to Nelson, although a friend was kindly able to provide transport this year. I have already cancelled my trip for the September classic car show because I don’t know how to get from Castlegar to Nelson.
Nelson is isolated enough with no Greyhound service and no shuttle from the airport makes matters much worse. I will miss my annual visits to Nelson, but don’t know what to do now.
A big part of organizing a hockey team in the KIJHL is the safe transportation of the team for our away games. Queen City Shuttle and Charters was the main provider of that service for the Nelson Leafs since the 2011-12 season.
When we were told they would no longer be able to provide that service for us, it set a priority for the executive to find something fast. Even though it was months before the season was to start, we needed to ensure to look at all options available to us, even if it meant purchasing our own bus.
Although we were disappointed with the closure of Queen City, we are pleased that we have found that provider for the Nelson Leafs with signing a multi-year agreement with Castlegar’s Mountain Transport Institute. The safety of our players, coaches and support staff is a priority for the transportation to and from away games.
President of the Nelson Leafs
We are winter visitors and have been spending three months in beautiful Nelson the last 15 ski seasons.
Unfortunately I was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago but amazingly was able to continue on with our Nelson winter plans thanks in great part to Queen City shuttle. I had my surgery in Spokane and used the Queen City Shuttle every week back and forth from Nelson for my six-week radiation treatments in Spokane where I stayed with my sister.
Queen City Shuttle was very beneficial for my medical travel requirements and I was bummed to see they ceased their operations. We have company come every winter to visit us while we ourselves are visiting Nelson and most come via Spokane airport.