Ultimate trip out of Kelowna – Kelowna Information
It was dusky in Calgary as Alberta’s final ever Greyhound lurched out of the 16th Road terminal.
On the bus, the subdued chatter — in English, Arabic, Cantonese — that is heard as a coach grows darkish.
However again on the station was a celebration of kinds, a bittersweet one. After 89 years of service, the enduring transportation firm was ending its service in Western Canada with the 6 p.m. bus to Edmonton.
Greyhound ended many years of service in Western Canada on Wednesday, pulling up stakes for monetary causes in a transfer that was introduced in July. The final bus to go away town, headed for Kamloops, rolled onto Leckie Highway at its precise departure time of 5:30 p.m.
The Calgary Greyhound station was emptying — no extra cafe, no extra merchandising machines and, quickly, no extra workers — as a congregation of present and former employees had come, many with cameras, to fete this ultimate voyage.
“So it’s kinda unhappy in a method, however then in one other method that was the way in which issues have been going. We’re type of excited to only get an image of the final one driving out and occurring with our lives.”
It felt like we, the passengers, have been intruding on a retirement celebration — plenty of handshakes and inside jokes.
“I name this my Greyhound household,” she mentioned, combating tears. “That is like my residence.”
I discover myself once more writing about deaths of my individuals which can be utterly preventable with sound coverage that displays our proper to obtain providers consistent with our inherent and Treaty rights. This month, Abraham Donkey, a 58-year-old Cree man from the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation died on a 10 hour Greyhound bus trip to Winnipeg the place he was speculated to obtain medical care following coronary heart surgical procedure. Donkeys niece insisted that he ought to have been on a flight, moderately than a bus trip, given his situation however a flight was not accredited by both Non-Insured Well being Advantages or Manitobas Northern Affected person Transport Program. Donkeys household has referred to as for a proper investigation with some accountability and I hope this happens as a result of as we will see, this can be a downside for a number of provincial and federal Ministries to unravel.
Ron, Greg and Robert Labine had come as effectively. They’re all former Greyhound workers and, to their data, the one trio of brothers to drive for the corporate concurrently.
Within the Yukon, Liard First Nation has began their very own bus firm to make sure they’d accessible transportation from Watson Lake to Whitehorse, citing medical journey as a significant cause this service was mandatory. Whereas I congratulate Liard First Nation on their new enterprise, we should contemplate that it’s not at all times attainable for First Nation communities to begin their very own bus fleet to make sure they’ve entry to primary providers. Minister Marc Garneau introduced the federal authorities may even be offering funding for Indigenous-owned transportation firms by the Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program, but it surely stays unclear how a lot funding can be allotted.
“We have been actually a household. We had camaraderie that I’ve by no means skilled anyplace else and I’ve constructed friendships that final to [this] day,” mentioned Ron Labine, who drove for Greyhound between 1993 and 2007.
Even with this weeks announcement of interim federal funding, I stay involved that we’ll nonetheless see a discount in service for a lot of communities in western Canada. I’m left questioning if First Nations individuals must forgo remedy as a result of they are going to be denied journey protection as a result of necessity and due to this fact elevated prices of flights in absence of bus service. I’m considering of Abraham Donkey and his household and the way unjust it’s for First Nations to hold the burden of proving we’re worthy of medical care by the present First Nations healthcare framework and the discount in bus service in western Canada solely exacerbates this downside.
“We actually tied the communities collectively. We had situations the place individuals in car accidents misplaced use of their autos; they have been getting on the bus with what was left of their belongings.
Final evening marked the final of Greyhound bus service in western Canada, save for one well-travelled route between Vancouver and Seattle. Greyhound, a Texas-based firm has cited a 41 p.c discount in ridership since 2010 as the explanation they’ve determined to drag their operations out of almost half the nation. Earlier this yr, each the federal and BC governments refused to step in to avoid wasting Greyhound once they introduced they have been shedding $35,000 per day on their passenger enterprise in rural and distant areas. That is the primary time in 90 years Alberta and Saskatchewan have been with out Greyhound and the primary time in 60 years for Manitoba.
“To those that had no different technique of journey: Ought to you find yourself in a city like Golden, how are you going to go away Golden at the moment? Are you going to exit and hitchhike?”
Ron’s brother Greg, driver from 1993 to 2009, provides that Greyhound did not simply ferry individuals round Alberta,…