Editorial: Disconnecting communities

Greyhound provides an essential service

A lot of people aren’t going to be able to make it home for Christmas this year.

Greyhound might be saving money, even the viability of their company, by ending their passenger and freight services in Western Canada. But there is going to be a large cost to the communities they serve.

In most communities, even those that don’t own cars are able to move about freely, whether by foot, bicycle or, in the case of larger communities, transit.

Travelling long distances is a bit tougher. Trains are near non-existent and flights can be costly. But transit, in the form of Greyhound buses, has always been an affordable, accessible alternative. That ends Oct. 31.

Those bus routes helped to keep our communities connected, and without them, many people are going to be unable to travel, whether it is for business or pleasure.

The only remaining alternative for many is going to be hitching a ride — always popular, but not always safe. Historical lack of a bus route along a stretch of Highway 16, the Highway of Tears, which lost its Greyhound service in June, has been suggested as a possible factor in so many women going missing in the area in recent decades.

Food, clothing and shelter are the necessities of life for an individual, but transportation is a necessity for linking communities and building a greater society.

It isn’t going to be easy to find a solution to this problem, but governments from the feds to local need to be working on it.

Canada is too big a place not to have accessible transportation between communities. Severing these links will have an immediate cost in terms of jobs, but the cost will be even greater long-term, as the economic links are also cut.

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