LETTER: Let’s look for West Kootenay transportation solutions

From reader Julia Roberts

Re: Greyhound applies to cut Nelson service to two days a week (Sept. 29)

I was not surprised to see the news that Greyhound wants to cut bus service to Nelson. The few times I have taken the Greyhound in recent years, the buses were far from full. It can’t make economic sense to be driving mostly empty buses across the southern interior. It also doesn’t make sense to burn the fossil fuels required to run large buses, when we urgently need to reduce carbon emissions.

When I lived in Victoria from the mid 1980s to the early 2000s, Greyhound provided service up and down Vancouver Island. In recent years, I have seen the transportation situation there gradually changing. A few years ago, a new company called Tofino Bus began operating trips to the west coast of the Island.

When I was on the Island this past summer, Greyhound service was much reduced, but Tofino Bus had expanded with a new service called All Island Express. Their buses are smaller than the Greyhound buses and must provide better fuel efficiency. I note that the Tofino buses interconnect with the Greyhound buses to major cities and tickets are interchangeable.

I think Nelson and the Kootenays can learn from the Vancouver Island example. Rather the lamenting reduced service by Greyhound, we should consider this an opportunity for a smaller, local company to provide passenger service. By using smaller buses and considering the needs of local people , it should be possible to design a more appropriate bus service for this area.

As an example, Greyhound offers an express bus from Kelowna to Vancouver with a web fare of about $50 twice a day. A bus from here to Kelowna, appropriately timed, could allow people to get to medical appointments there or connect to an express bus to Vancouver. In a similar fashion, a local trucking company could take over the freight service currently provided by Greyhound.

Let’s look for made in the Kootenays solutions to our transportation needs, while working to transition to renewable energy.

Julia Roberts

Nelson

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