Greyhound Canada’s decision to discontinue services in Western Canada will leave Lloydminster residents with limited options for transportation.
The transport company announced Monday that it will be ending both passenger and freight services in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Greyhound will still be operating in Ontario, Quebec and will have one route in B.C. MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster Richard Starke says the announcement is a big blow to the people who rely on the service.
“Without Greyhound folks that relied on the bus service to be able to get them elsewhere, get them to other communities are now going to have to look for alternatives and that’s going to create some hardships for people.”
Greyhound says the decision is due to the decline in ridership in rural communities and the increase in other transportation services. Since 2010 ridership has dropped 41 per cent across the country, which Greyhound says has left them with no choice but to cancel unsustainable routes.
Executive Director of the Native Friendship Centre Bonnie Start says her biggest concern is the difficulty Greyhounds decision is going to cost people.
“What we see in a lot of cases it’s the medical treatment and specialist appointments that people have to go to that’s really going to impact people. Particularly seniors whether they’re indigenous or not indigenous a lot of them aren’t able to drive themselves to the cities.”
Lloydminster currently does not have any public transportation in place to support residents, however, there are organizations that have vans available to take people to cities for different needs. Start says they have a van but there are barriers for the organization as well.
“The costs involved in that for the centre, for instance, you have to have a driver, you have to have the fuel, you have to have maintenance to make sure that the vehicle you’re transporting them in is safe.”
Starke says it may be daunting at first, but there will be different options created for people to get around.
“People are very creative and there’s lots of ingenuity whether it turns into some web-based or app-based ridesharing sort of situation. We have Uber operating right now in many cities whether that’s something that can morph into a ridesharing application that happens between communities that’s one possibility.”
The bus routes in Western Canada will be cancelled officially as of October 31, 2018. In the meantime, operations will continue throughout the summer and through Thanksgiving.