Many UBCO students will have to find an alternative transportation service to Greyhound when services end in October.
July 9 Greyhound announced their plan to cancel all their routes in Western Canada, beginning October 31. One route will remain open in British Columbia, between Vancouver and Seattle, which will be operated by the American branch of Greyhound. The company defends their decision to cut back their services by pointing to a “41%” decline in ridership since 2010. Even with this decline, in many rural communities Greyhound is the only service that operates to provide transportation to larger towns and cities.
At UBC Okanagan, many students use Greyhound as their main form of transportation to and from the Vancouver area. According to UBCO’s Facts and Figures, 37% of the students that attend UBCO are from British Columbia, but are not native to Kelowna. Many of these students now are faced with finding alternative means of transportation after Greyhound stops running its services in October. Unfortunately, Greyhound is one of the most affordable means of transportation out of the Okanagan.
Booked a week and a half in advance, a Greyhound ticket from Kelowna to Vancouver can cost as little as $103 for a weekend trip. When booked with the cheapest airline available, the same trip, also booked a week and a half in advance, costs at minimum $244. Other alternatives to flying have been suggested, such as a service called Poparide, but this requires a driver to post the date they are travelling, and then passengers must book their seats in the driver’s cars. There is a possibility that no driver will be travelling the date that a student wishes to travel, or the cars travelling will be fully booked.
Other alternatives to Greyhound continue to be discusses, and Kelowna mayor Colin Basran has stated that it may be prudent to “have discussions with the provincial government and BC Transit about at least a regional service so that people in the Okanagan Valley can still connect to the destinations they need to.” While these discussions are just beginning, Greyhound shuts down its services in less than four months.