The potential cancellation of Greyhound’s route from Calgary through the Upper Columbia Valley was greeted with dismay by Invermere council members, who resolved at their most recent meeting to send a letter outlining their concerns tothe company.
Council received a letter and a formal notification at its June 23rd meeting from Greyhound detailing the company’s recent application to shut down Route F, which travels from Calgary west through Banff and Castle Junction, down Highway 93 to Radium Hot Springs and then down on through the valley to Cranbook.
“I certainly don’t like the idea. We should write a letter in opposition to this. It’s hindering us in getting people out to the valley smoothly,” said councillor Al Miller.
“It does hamstring us, there’s no question, when it comes to getting staff for Panorama of the other resorts out here,” added councillor Greg Anderson.
Invermere mayor Gerry Taft said that, from what he’s learned so far on the issue, the public transport bus route run by Sun City Coach Lines ()under contract to Greyhound) from Cranbrook to Golden will still run. However, Taft added that the Sun City route only runs one way each day and does not connect directly to Alberta like Greyhound Route F (which runs both ways each day) , meaning that anybody wanting to get from Calgary to Invermere by public transport will have to take a Greyhound along the TransCanada to Golden, and then wait — quite possibly for many hours, if not overnight — to switch to the Sun City route heading south from Golden.
The ultimate result is that getting to or from Calgary by public transport will be much more time consuming and arduous than it currently is, said Taft, adding he’s not convinced of Greyhound’s reasoning that low ridership on Route F merits its shutdown. He said he felt that Route F ridership would likely increase dramatically if Greyhound offered better service at a more reasonable price.
“It’s clear to me that Greyhound want to get into the freight business and out of the passenger business,” he said.
“We’ve been trying to get community bussing going and this just yanks the rug out from this,”
“This is really important to this region, we can’t loose this,” said councillor Paul Denchuk.
Council members briefly discussed the possibility of trying to band together with other affected municipalities such as Cranrbook and Kimberley to oppose the cancellation, but concluded that Greyhound’s request for a response by July 3rd didn’t leave enough time for such collaboration. They voted unanimously to send a letter opposed to the proposed route shut down.