Northerners are missing the bus

Three times a week, Greyhound bus passengers enter Watson Lake’s Gateway Motor Inn for hot food and drinks.

Three times a week, Greyhound bus passengers enter Watson Lake’s Gateway Motor Inn for hot food and drinks.

And there’s always a room rented where the off-shift driver sleeps.

“Now it’s very quiet,” said Gateway manager Wilma Koehl.

The Greyhound Canada bus strike, which started last week, is impacting a number of communities along the highway and Watson Lake is one of them.

Koehl’s restaurant is losing quite a bit of money, she said.

“And our hotel freight is in limbo.

“There’s no newspapers, no nothing.

“We’re kind of cut off.”

Koehl had just been in contact with a couple of women who had doctors appointments in Whitehorse and were planning to take the bus.

One woman tried to change her appointment, but couldn’t get another date, said Koehl.

“And now they have to somehow find a ride to Whitehorse.

“To us (the strike) is a problem here and I hope they resolve it soon.”

Seniors are being hit hardest, said Watson Lake electronics retailer Werner Schneeberger.

“Many are incapable of driving and rely on the bus to get to medical appointments in Whitehorse,” he added.

Schneeberger’s store, Shopping Unlimited, also relies on the bus for overweight freight shipments.

“A lot of services have been cut out,” he said.

In Pink Mountain, where the bus makes a meal stop, Buckinghorse River Lodge is losing roughly $1,200 a week.

“We make our money from the bus, handling customers and freight,” said owner Howard Shannon, who sees anywhere from six to 25 customers each trip.

Shannon’s employees also rely on the bus.

“That’s how they get to work,” he said.

“I have workers coming from Dawson Creek and Fort St. John.”

It’s part of the contract, he said.

“I supply the transportation.”

Now, with the strike, Shannon has been forced to hire family members to drive his employees to the lodge for shifts.

Hall’s Food and Gas Services in Wonowon has a similar problem.

“I have 14 staff and the bus is how all of them get back and forth to work,” said owner Dennis Hall.

“Now, they’re hitchhiking.”

Working 10 days on and five off, Hall’s staff travel as far as Vernon and Terrace.

“It’s a very poor situation,” he said.

“Anybody up and down the highway from Fort St. John to Fort Nelson relies on the bus.”

Hall’s Food and Gas is a pick-up point for passengers and parcels.

“People come to get a parcel and often gas up, or have a coffee or meal while they’re waiting,” he said.

“So there’s no doubt we’re losing business.”

Last week, roughly 1,200 unionized motor coach drivers, mechanics, ticket handlers, courier parcel staff and bus loaders walked off the job after 360 jobs were cut.

The cuts are a result of the Americanization of the company, according to union reports.

As a result, Greyhound has temporarily suspended passenger and parcel delivery services in BC, Alberta, Yukon, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Members of the RCMP’s traffic services team examine police markers on Range Road after a six-year-old boy was struck by a vehicle near the Takhini Arena in Whitehorse on Oct. 25. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Six-year-old hit by vehicle near Takhini Arena

Police were called to the scene around 12:15 p.m. on Oct. 25

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. Two new cases of COVID-19 were identified in Watson Lake over the weekend. The cases are connected to three others in the community previously announced by officials on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Two additional COVID-19 cases in Watson Lake bring total up to five

Individuals with symptoms and connections to the three other cases were tested over the weekend

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announced three new cases of COVID-19 in Watson Lake on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three new COVID-19 cases identified in Watson Lake

The Yukon government has identified three locations in town where public exposure may have occurred

Teagan Wiebe, left, and Amie Wiebe pose for a photo with props during The Guild’s haunted house dress rehearsal on Oct. 23. The Heart of Riverdale Community Centre will be hosting its second annual Halloween haunted house on Oct. 30 and 31, with this year’s theme being a plague. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Plague-themed haunted house to take over Heart of Riverdale for Halloween

A plague will be descending upon the Heart of Riverdale Community Centre… Continue reading

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over the Takhini elk herd be struck by the court. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Yukon government asks for Takhini elk lawsuit to be struck

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over… Continue reading

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging the reduction of its caribou quota to zero. (Yukon News file)
YG replies to outfitter’s legal challenge over caribou quota

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging… Continue reading

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this year, saying that with COVID-19, it’s “more important than ever.” (Black Press file)
Get flu vaccine, Yukon government urges

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

asdf
COMMENTARY: Me and systemic racism

The view from a place of privilege

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Electricity and air travel

Letters to the editor published Oct. 23, 2020

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Irony versus Climate

Lately it seems like Irony has taken over as Editor-in-Chief at media… Continue reading