“It isn’t easy to find a carrier that appeals to people willing to lick the side of your face while you’re dozing on a ridiculously long, uncomfortable journey that is taking way longer than it should but at least smells like someone made a fire out of toilet pucks,” says Joyce Wintrose of 100 Mile House, British Columbia, standing outside the Greyhound station in that town, wondering now how she’s supposed to take 14 hours to travel 500 kilometres and be assaulted en route now that Greyhound is shuttering the majority of service in western Canada.
“I always think ‘maybe this time I’ll just take the plane from Williams Lake,’ but then I don’t, believing it would be nice to not have to pay the same amount of money to fly an hour as English people spend getting to Thailand.”
She squints up at the Greyhound sign hanging above us and shudders, remembering early morning encounters with unapologetically orally fixated strangers with zero boundaries.
“But I always end up wishing I’d just spent the money.”
With Greyhound announcing today that they will be cancelling all but one route in Canada outside of Ontario and Quebec – saying the number of people wishing to travel long distances while clutching their belongings and praying has surprisingly dropped – Canadians are concerned there are now few, if any, dodgy transport options left for those who can’t afford a car. And even fewer ways to be reminded that their government would really prefer they’d just move to an urban centre already.
“Yes,” says Joyce, when asked if she thinks the public sector should step into the gap left in the ‘weird strangers smiling at you when you wake up’ sector of the long-haul transport business in this country.
“I don’t care if it falls to the province or the feds,” she says, absent-mindedly rubbing her cheek with a Kleenex. “Just get me from A to B with a minimum of expense. Preferably without getting licked. But to be honest that isn’t really a deal breaker if the seat was on sale.”