Blake Moore’s first route as a Greyhound bus driver in 1979 was to Penticton, and fittingly, on Wednesday after nearly four decades behind the wheel, it was also his last.
Just after 1 p.m., Moore pulled into the back lot of the Ellis Street terminal with just a handful of passengers en route to West Kelowna and points beyond on Greyhound’s final day of service in Western Canada.
“I was excited back then on that first trip and I’m just as excited today,” said Moore from the driver’s seat of the #6166 bus, as friends and family members waited in the lot below with flowers and balloons celebrating his retirement.
“I’m pretty pumped about that, all these people here to greet me, and yeah, it’s a pretty nice send off.
“Bittersweet is the best way to describe it.”
He called Greyhound a great employer, having treated him very well during his tenure with the company, and his one regret: “It’s gone too fast.”
Among family members at the Penticton terminal was his mother and Leanne Barnes, his sister.
“We all just wanted to come out and wish him a happy retirement and say goodbye to Greyhound,” said Barnes. “I’m sad to see it go because there are a lot of people who rely on it, but I’m glad he’ll be off the winter roads.”
Among those on hand were more than a half dozen former Greyhound drivers, who, just like Moore’s family, got big hugs from the driver.
Among the passengers along for the ride, at least as far as West Kelowna, was Penticton’s Harv Baessler, who, along with Penticton Museum archival assistant and photographer, Gary McDougall, was documenting the last day.
“Also, as a member of the public I have enjoyed the service for about 10 years going to Vancouver out of Penticton and it has been great, many memorable moments,” said Baessler before boarding.
And at 1:45 p.m., as he’d done for nearly 40 years, Moore shouted out: “Last call for service for West Kelowna Kelowna, Kelowna to Vernon to Kamloops.”
With that he climbed up the steps to the familiar seat, closed the door and blew the loud horn as Greyhound bus #6166 left the Ellis Street terminal.
Following the departure of that last bus, and through her tears, Greyhound agent/franchise owner Lynda Verrier locked the front door of the terminal for the final time.
For now at least, there are no plans for bus service between Penticton and Vancouver and points in between.
Send Mark Brett an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.