Greyhound’s last bus from Nelson has departed ahead of schedule.
The local depot shut down after loading up one final bus Sunday, four days before the company had said it would suspend operations.
That left Gloria Clark, the depot’s agent, alone Monday morning with an upset passenger who had previously booked a ticket without knowing the service was ending prematurely.
“This is one hell of a thing, especially because they said they were ending on the 31st,” the passenger said.
“Yes,” replied Clark, “it came as a shock to us as well.”
Clark has run the Nelson and Creston depots for the last 10 years, and is now being forced into retirement after 35 years with Greyhound.
On Monday, she tried calling Greyhound’s head office only to end up speaking with someone in South America who was unaware the service had ended in the Kootenays.
“I think what was inefficient was [not] contacting the customers who pre-book — and many do now, especially seniors, because you get a better ticket price.”
Greyhound is already being replaced in the Kootenays, albeit on a much smaller scale.
Silver City Stagelines is opening for business Tuesday morning with round-trip routes from Nelson to Kelowna running Sunday to Friday.
The trips will begin at the Nelson A&W at 6:30 a.m., with stops planned for Trail, Castlegar, Grand Forks, Greenwood, Midway and Rock Creek. Tickets are $75 and can be booked online at fritztravels.com.
Silver City owner Fritz Keller said there’s been plenty of interest. “People are very thankful and excited about that service,” he said.
Clark said she hopes operators like Keller have success, but she worries about how smaller businesses will make schedules work in the short term.
“I’m not sure what’s going to happen with all these little pieces. Greyhound took 95 years to put together a system that worked universally. Everything was co-ordinated… everything joined.”
At least it did until this week. On Sunday, Clark said a group was at the bus depot to applaud the last driver. The next morning, she was helping Greyhound’s last passenger book a flight out of Castlegar.
Clark volunteered to drive her to the airport herself.