For 85 years people without transportation in local communities in this part of the country have been connected by Greyhound. But that has come to an end . . . Greyhound will no longer service rural western Canada.
Back in 1929, when this all began, not that many people had their own car or truck – and as often as not a trip out of town wasn’t looked upon as the same easy choice it is today. Roads back then made for a much more exciting, and lengthy, trip. Where you see paved highways today imagine dirt and gravel tracks. That bridge over the Paulson on the way to Castlegar or Trail didn’t exist. The bypass which heads down into the valley and back up again was the route they took. Unless they went over the Santa Rosa. So that quick back and forth to Trail of today would be a two day trip.
Vehicles were more cantankerous, more dangerous, less dependable and far less comfortable than they are now.
Crank by hand to start – try not to break your wrist or arm with the backfires. If you’ve never seen this done watch the video below.
Either primitive or no shocks to absorb the jolts and deaden the springs bouncing you around on the bumpy roads. Narrow tires prone to getting stuck in the mud.
Imagine this – No insulation or heaters to keep out the cold in winter. People resorted to bringing hot coals in boxes and hot water bottles. Large coats and thick blankets for those long drives.
No in-window heaters to clear off the condensation so you could see. One or two speed wipers that were prone to snow and ice build-up. No BCAA to help you out if something went wrong. No cell phones to call for help with.
Now with all that against you it’s easy to see how people would opt for letting someone else take care of the problems while they road along as passengers. Hence the popularity of public transport by Bus.
But times changed. Technology improved. Investments were made in road infrastructure.
Personal vehicles got better and more people could afford them. The roads improved and eventually the routes all got paved. Overnight round trips became same day ones.
All that meant the ridership numbers for Greyhound fell. Over time they eventually dropped so low that eventually the company decided that it had to give up serving these routes.
Which brings us to Today. Greyhound no longer travels Highway 3 in rural BC. No longer stops here in Grand Forks.
That does not mean we will be without public transport though. New replacements have already popped up.
This was spotted locally the other day and shared to a local Facebook group. The website for Silver City Stagelines is fritztravels.com Global News has a piece on them with an interview with the owner.
You will notice the pick-up / drop-off location is now the Canco station (formerly the Shell) at Boundary and Central. In the past year it has moved from the original bus depot location across from the baseball stadium, to the PetroCan station to the Canco station. Hopefully it will remain there for a while.