By Leah Blain
When Greyhound announced they were cutting their service in western Canada, it wasn’t only the passengers who were surprised by the news.
Warren and Cheryl Keen, who had been Greyhound agents for more than 25 years, the last nine of those years in Salmon Arm, had no prior warning.
“We heard a tip from another agent that they were shutting down but we didn’t believe it. We thought it was a joke, and then we got our termination notice. We were stunned like everyone else.”
A company, Rider Express, based out of Regina, was going to take over where Greyhound left off for Shuswap communities along Highway 1, but that hasn’t really fallen into place as they never did establish a regular Trans-Canada route. That not only left a lot of passengers without transportation, but also customers who used the bus for parcel delivery.
Passenger service is regulated by the government so there wasn’t much Warren could do about that, but he had an idea about the parcels.
“We got together with other former Greyhound agents to work together as a team. We keep our separate identities but we’re a team. Right now people can send parcels from Revelstoke to Penticton and north to 100 Mile House. It will get there the same day or overnight and our rates are very reasonable.”
With the increased out-of-town deliveries, Warren has had to buy another delivery truck.
V&C Courier does a lot of deliveries within Salmon Arm as well, including flowers and legal documents.
But Warren says he feels for all the people who are missing the passenger service, especially over Christmas and New Year’s.
“I feel very strongly that we need a passenger service. I talked to Greg Kyllo (MLA for the Shuswap riding) and I’m hoping something will happen in the new year.”
Warren says before Greyhound closed down, on a typical day they would have anywhere between 100 to 200 people go through the Salmon Arm station.
“At Christmas we would have eight to 10 buses a day. We had a lot of people going through here.”
They rented the former Greyhound building but Warren says it feels very different in the bus terminal now: “It’s kind of funny standing there and no one is coming in anymore.”
Warren says he has a wish for 2019.
“I’m a dreamer but I like to see it come to fruition. It will take some work but I hope next Christmas we’ll see good passenger service that people can rely on.”
V&C Courier delivers Monday through Friday. They don’t always have someone at the station so it’s best to contact them for information or before dropping something off.
For parcel delivery, call 250-832-3131 (the former Greyhound number) or Warren’s cell at 250-832-0727.