My parents live in Lone Butte BC, near 100 Mile House. Greyhound provided bus service until 2018 that wasn’t that good, but at least there were 2-3 buses a day to Vancouver. Now there are only two buses per week! The new private bus service uses a small bus without a bathroom, so passengers have to ask the driver to stop if they need to go, and the heat doesn’t work well so your feet can get very cold in the winter. It’s a 6-7 hour trip to Vancouver from where my parents live with a round trip fare of $186 and $25 for each extra bag.
Because of the lack of reliable, frequent bus service, I often have to drive a car to visit my parents. Last February, my mom needed two surgeries and I drove to the Interior from the Coast, even though I prefer not to drive on those often dangerous winter roads. In the 100 km stretch between 100 Mile House and Williams Lake I saw two serious accidents.
Most of my parent’s medical appointments are in Kamloops, which is a 2 ½-hour drive each way. There is a medical bus, but it only runs on Mondays so your specialist appointment has to be between 11:30am and 3pm on a Monday. The only other option for medical appointments is the same private service that goes to Vancouver. The bus to Kamloops runs on Mondays and Thursdays, so if you have a medical appointment in Kamloops and are relying on the bus, you have to stay overnight in Kamloops for three or four nights to catch the next bus home.
Here’s an example of the stupidity of using a bunch of different private bus services:
Last year a company applied to run three buses per week on the Prince George-Kamloops route. This would have improved service for people like my parents and substantially increase service to 5 trips per week. But the overseeing Passenger Transport Board wouldn’t allow the new route, claiming the proposed additional service “could have an injurious and adverse effect on the new Inter-City Bus (ICB) operator and the overall viability of ICB services on the corridor.” So, essentially, it refused to improve service to the community because that could affect profits for the existing private bus company.
As a result of all this infrequent service, I have had to make the nine-hour trip from Victoria to Lone Butte several times to drive my parents to medical appointments in Kamloops. The lack of public transit is also putting community members at risk. Seniors have to drive long distances, often in adverse driving conditions. People without access to cars are often forced to risk hitchhiking when they have no other options. …
Maryann A. Victoria, BC
We need decent transit throughout the province….
There is a misconception that people who use public transit are poor. It’s true, people who don’t have enough money have to take public transit. However, there are many people who have cars, who would rather take transit, because they don’t drive, no longer drive long distances, want to cut down on emissions, etc. I live in Victoria, but when I want to go up-Island, there is a patchwork of small bus lines available–some are just vans. My partner has a walker. It is hard to figure out which bus company goes where you want to go (You have to know the name before you can find out how to buy tickets, or what the schedule is.) Sometimes you have to transfer from one company to another, and the schedules don’t match, or one bus won’t wait for another if it’s five minutes late, so you have to find somewhere to stay before you can go on to the next leg of your journey, 24 hours less five minutes later. It’s very difficult to find out in advance if the bus (small, van, whatever) will take a wheelchair, or if the waiting spot is accessible, etc. which adds to the stress of the travel.
We took the train to Harrison Hot Springs last year, because it seemed easier than taking a bus. Got off the train about 5 minutes drive from our hotel, only to discover that there was no taxi service in the town. Us, our luggage and the walker all had to rely on the kindness of two women who took pity on us and drove us to our hotel. We decided to take the bus back, got one near our hotel, took the bus to Chilliwack, then had to get a cab to travel to the pick-up spot for the big bus to Vancouver.
Kate N. – Victoria, BC
Well, Greyhound is a complete rip-off. One Christmas I wanted to go visit my sister between Christmas and new years- bought my ticket, $200 round trip. Then I got sick- so needed to cancel it. And there was no way to cancel the ticket so I lost $200. Now they have pulled out of Canada- thank gawd as it is a US corporation with customer service in the Philippines who know nothing about Canada, winters, and they have no authority to grant you anything. We need a Canadian company with agents in Canada to deal with customers who need to adjust travels for health or weather.
I do not have a car and I have family in Greenwood.b.c. and I cannot get there because there is no bus that goes there anymore!
Lily S. – Greenwood, BC
Yes! Is so necessary – like to learn more.
We need access to and from isolated communities.
Hi! It’s Madelin from ATU Canada. I just wanted to get on this mailing list to learn more about future actions 🙂 the site looks great!
The people that are most affected in our rural community are those requiring transportation to and from healthcare appointments. Within our small town we have a taxi service and HandiDart bus service that takes care of most local transportation needs. When these services are not available or difficult to access, people rely on the generosity of family, friends, and neighbours. Access to healthcare that requires travelling away from the community presents a different set of problems. Again, there’s HandiDart that operates on a limited basis, but this is not always an acceptable solution, especially for the frail and elderly. We used to have reasonably good bus service but now that that’s gone, travel by private vehicle is usually the only option left.
It’s impossible to get from Nelson (where I live) to the lower mainland without Kootenay Rideshare (impacted by COVID-19) or a private vehicle. A reliable bus service paid for by the province and replacing Greyhound would be fantastic. I have no car and our nearest major hospital is in Kelowna. There is or has been a good service to Kelowna, back the following day. Locally our bus service could be considerably improved with public service on Sundays and a fleet of electrically powered buses. I need a bus to get to Vancouver and there isn’t one. We should get organized locally and get behind this as a community, a region and a province. Let me know how I can help with this campaign.
Sandra H. Nelson, BC
My husband and I live in Princeton. Since the Greyhound bus stopped running, there is no public transportation to Penticton, Kelowna, Vancouver etc. There is a local shuttle bus running to Penticton at 7:15 am (with the option to continue to Kelowna). Usually people will have to stay overnight, since often they have to miss the return bus which leaves Penticton at 12:50. If their appointment is scheduled for the afternoon there is the extra hardship of having to wait for many hours somewhere in Penticton.
Princeton has a large (and growing) population of elderly people. This brings enormous hardship, with some people deciding that they will not go to a specialist. The results may be that their health deteriorates and they will end up in the ER, or in hospital, which in the end is more costly for the taxpayer.
‘Tulameen’ – Princeton, BC
While we have some Regional transit capacity on Vancouver Island, both Denman and Hornby Island are not part of transit network. So, get crackin’
Bill E. – Denman Island, BC
Public transit in the Comox Valley has improved over the years, but is still poor. Lack of evening, weekend and holiday service is especially problematic. Car culture is very strong, which is detrimental to our environment and to our kids. WE need a campaign to get people out of their cars and onto buses or micro-buses – something that makes public transit popular, easy and affordable. Unfortunately, it seems to be low on the radar for municipal authorities.
Tara S. – Comox Valley, BC
Once a week east / west daytime bus (E Bus) service for our local Chase citizens who have to get to Kamloops or Salmon Arm specialists or the Hospital. Only in town / local Chase Seniors Transit Bus, operated by Chase Community Services Society. After Grey Hound Bus services stopped we had no out of town transit opportunities, not even a Taxi Service now. So we definitely need BC Transit or Handy Dart or another form of Regional Transit Service. Even worse now with COVID 19 and the Health Orders.
Dave S. – Chase, BC
I live in the Kispiox Valley in Northern B.C. We have a regional BC Transit shuttle that goes to Smithers and one that goes to Terrace, stopping in local communities along the way. However, these only run three days a week. This makes it challenging to schedule medical appointments and grocery runs. Service is also limited to one vehicle, meaning people who miss the bus are stranded for hours in the cold until it comes back around again. This leads to a lot of people hitchhiking, which is a bad idea during COVID-19 and dangerous in general on Highway 16. One final hiccup: the shuttle buses do have a bike rack on the front, but it blocks the headlights. This design limitation means you can only take a bike during daylight hours.
Kai N. – Kispiox Valley, BC
We pledge to commit to and advocate for a BC-wide public bus network. – Students are one of the largest users of transit, and during COVID-19 many UVic students learning remotely in their home communities in BC, many of which do not have adequate transit service. We need ambitious, large-scale investment in the transit system across BC, NOW!
The University of Victoria Students’ Society – Victoria, BC
I pledge to commit to and advocate for a BC-wide public bus network. If we, as British Columbians, are to receive substantial dollars from the federal government then rural BC deserves to have a share that would see a public transportation system that would serve it regularly and affordably . We lost the BCR and recently lost Greyhound, rather than spend all the $ in the lower mainland treat the rural areas as more than 2nd class citizens.
Rod H. – 100 Mile House, BC
Over the course of my teaching career,I worked in remote First Nations and rural locations around BC. Often I was the only one with a vehicle as poverty is a very real issue. The need is great to have a safe reliable and affordable public transit system that serves all people and connects the province. Whether it is transportation for seniors trying to get to medical appointments, young women trying to get home or workers who may live in one community but can only find work 30 minutes to an hour away, reliable safe transportation is critical. The investment in an inter- community network would not only be beneficial economically,(plus possible added tourism dollars) environmentally it is cleaner and there is also the add the element of safety for riders. This must become a priority for this government ..it could even translate into votes.
Joanne B. Campbell River, BC
I live in Saanich, and my parents live on Quadra Island. I am deeply frustrated and concerned, because I have yet to find a bus service that will bring me and my kids to Campbell River or even Courtenay. I don’t have a car, so I have to rent one every time we go. I also get serious anxiety driving on the highway. It makes it really hard and expensive to visit my parents.
Elise C. Saanich, BC
We need transit or bus service from Mile 0 in Victoria all the way to Port Hardy.
Matthew D. Langford, BC
The current dysfunctional patchwork of privately-owned services isolates & underserves communities.
I am visually impaired and am now extremely limited in where I can go in BC unless I fly. While Greyhound wasn’t a high quality service, at least the routes connected with each other and ran frequently. Now it’s a patchwork at best.
Heather L. Prince George, BC
Buses in Richmond do not serve the city. Buses are used as a way to funnel people into Vancouver, and/or the local casino. Low-income individuals and families need transit to get to jobs, services and to and from home. You shouldn’t have to transfer buses to get around the city.
BTW I also strongly support the regional transit initiatives to provide better long-distance (no hotels) bus transport all around BC. Travelling in Argentina, a huge country, is largely done in buses where people can sleep aboard and arrive at their destination the next day, refreshed and not out of pocket.
Deirdre W. Richmond, BC