BC woman refuses to let Greyhound drive her family from small town

Mother of disabled woman will hire a driver for coastal appointments

The news earlier this week that Greyhound Canada is leaving the west on a fast train was a blow for communities from Penticton to Portage La Prairie.

Few people felt it more than Princeton’s Donna Slatten, who relies on the bus service to get her disabled daughter Dana to medical appointments in Vancouver.

“It’s horrible,” said Slatten. “I’m mad and I’m sad. It just doesn’t make any sense.”

Greyhound announced Monday it would cease operations in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and is cancelling all but one route in B.C. — a US-run service between Vancouver and Seattle.

Citing declining ridership and claiming its operations in these provinces are bleeding money, the company said the service will be defunct on October 31, 2018.

It was only three months ago that Greyhound cut rural routes throughout the province, including along the Highway 3 corridor between Penticton and the coast.

At that time Slatten – who circulated a local petition a year previously when Greyhound reduced its passes through Princeton to one daily at 1:00 a.m. – considered moving from Princeton. Eventually she was able to work out a time-consuming and costly way to get Dana to her appointments.

“The plan was taking the [BC transit bus] to Penticton, but then you get there after their bus has already left because it leaves at 5:55 a.m.

“So we were going to have to spend the first night in Penticton, get up at 4 a.m. to go catch the Vancouver bus at 5:55 a.m. and arrive in Vancouver at 5:55 p.m.”

That would have meant another night’s stay, so that Dana could attend a medical appointment the following day.

“Then we would catch the midnight bus and do everything backwards…It would have been a three night trip for a hour and half appointment.”

Related: Greyhound plans could force Princeton family to move

But even that was better than the scenario Slatten faces now, which is having to hire a driver to take the pair to the coast when necessary.

Slatten also lives with a physical disability and does not drive.

“I’m just going to hope I can pay somebody for gas, and if they don’t want to make the trip all in one day I will gladly cover the cost of accommodations and buy their food.”

She has decided she does not want to leave her community, explaining that the small town qualities of Princeton make it possible for Dana, who is 39, to move about independently, doing her own banking and shopping.

“It’s going to be hard but you cope and you make do. You do what you have to do.”

Princeton Mayor Frank Armitage is part of regional district committee that was already working on finding transportation options for the valley, looking for ways to affordably offer people a way to the coast.

“We are certainly on it. We are just working on any solution we can come up with to get transportation to the Lower Mainland and we do need government help.

Armitage, along with other municipal leaders, hope to meet with the BC transportation minister at this year’s Union of BC Municipalities conference in September.

He added he is aware of several Princeton families who will now be unable to access the medical services they need in various larger centres.

In a statement released Monday night, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena said the decision was “hugely problematic.”

“This move will leave people with limited options to get around, and this will likely impact the most vulnerable,” Trevena said in a statement.

Trevena also said in her statement that Greyhound did not communicate their plans with her or her staff at any point to have a conversation on “solutions to keep people connected — something I would have expected, given their long history in this province,” she said.

To report a typo, email:
publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
.



andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Sandelin scores twice as Penticton Vees defeat West Kelowna Warriors

Penticton Vees bounced back to defeat the West Kelowna Warriors in second of home-and-home series

Truck, trailer stolen from Keremeos area

Last week a truck was stolen, later recovered, and a trailer was also taken.

Okanagan mentor awarded national Coach of the Year

Penticton’s Rob Kober was named the Jack Donohue Coach of the Year

International students hit hard by B.C. tuition fee hikes

Campaign seeks regulatory controls be imposed on post-secondary institutions

Summerland wineries turn on the lights

Bottleneck Drive offers 8th annual Light up the Vines

Your weekday weather update

Flurries and more rain anticipated for the Okanagan - Shuswap

CFL will use extra on-field official to watch for illegal blows to quarterback

If the extra official sees an illegal blow that has not already been flagged, they will advise the head referee, who can then assess a penalty for roughing the passer

Older B.C. drivers subsidizing younger ones, study finds

ICBC protects higher-risk drivers, pays for testing costs

EU divorce deal in peril after two UK Cabinet ministers quit

Negotiators from Britain and the European Union have struck a proposed divorce deal that will be presented to politicians on both sides for approval, officials in London and Brussels said Tuesday.

Feds respond to sexual assault investigation at B.C. naval base

Report of Oct. 5 sexual assault on Vancouver Island base taken over by Canadian Forces National Investigation Service

Northern California fire death toll at 56; 130 missing

Many of the missing are elderly and from Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 to the north of Paradise.

Canfor to buy 70 per cent stake in Swedish Vida Group for $580 million

The privately held company has nine sawmills in southern Sweden with an annual production capacity of 1.1 billion board feet.

Saudi prosecutor seeks death penalty in Khashoggi’s killing

Saudi Arabia’s top prosecutor is recommending the death penalty for five suspects charged with ordering and carrying out the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi.

Mixing business and family: Trudeau turns to Singapore ancestors to widen trade

Trudeau’s ancestor, Esther Bernard, born Farquhar (1796-1838) was the daughter of Major-General William Farquhar (1774-1839), the first British Resident and Commandant of Singapore.

Most Read