With Greyhound ending service in B.C., will more people turn to ridesharing? | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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With Greyhound ending service in B.C., will more people turn to ridesharing?

July 11, 2018 - 2:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - Kris Dennhardt was planning on using a rideshare through a classifieds site to catch a lift from Williams Lake to Kamloops a couple of weeks ago when the ride didn't work out.

So he resorted to his second option — taking the Greyhound bus. But it won't be an option for much longer, as the company announced earlier this week that it would be shutting down virtually all Western Canada routes. Greyhound will run as usual on all its regular routes until Oct. 31.

Now Dennhardt is asking the question Canadians have been wondering since the announcement — what do I do?

He travels from Williams Lake for work and every so often has to go as far as the Lower Mainland. As of late his truck hasn't been the most reliable, so Greyhound is the best and most affordable option for him.

Dennhardt has used ridesharing from services like Craigslist and Kijiji in the past, but he concerns.

"Rideshare is very unreliable," he says. "They can pick and choose who they take. I got a rideshare to come down here, they didn’t work out, so I took the Greyhound because it’s reliable, it’s right there."

The same thing happened when Dennhardt tried to arrange a ride home from Kamloops. He had got in contact with someone who was willing to take him, but the driver wouldn't meet him for coffee beforehand and the two got into a disagreement. So once again, Dennhardt purchased a Greyhound ticket instead.

"It’s going to be bad. What’s going to happen after October and I need to go from Williams Lake to Vancouver? How do I get there? What are my options? To fly? No," Dennhardt says.

One of the reasons he sometimes opts for rideshares over Greyhound buses is mostly to do with the social aspect. Dennhardt says he likes to live on the edge a little bit, and it's always nice after you travel and get along with someone to build a friendship afterward.

But his main concern is safety, fully knowing that nobody has vetted this driver he's about to share a ride with.

"This rideshare thing could be really dangerous."

Kamloops RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jodi Shelkie says there are many people who have successfully and safely used these services, but there are several things people need to remember if they're going to try it out.

"Passengers looking for a ride to other communities should remember that they are getting into an enclosed area with a stranger for an extended period of time," Shelkie says. "Even if the driver is not personally a threat, their driving habits may be dangerous."

Shelkie says if possible, you should meet the driver in advance of the trip in a public place with a friend or family member present. You can even ask for references. Some people who give rides a lot could have both personal references and references from previous passengers.

You can also ask for a current copy of their driver's license abstract, ask if they have a copy of a recent criminal record check, take a picture of the driver's license and vehicle license plate and sent to a friend or family member, check in with someone you trust as you travel and when you arrive at your destination, don't give any personal information to the driver, and listen to your instincts.

"If, during the ride, the driver acts or says something offensive or suspicious or if you feel unsafe in any way, get out at the next available stop that has cell coverage or a phone and abandon this ride," Shelkie says. "Better to be safe than sorry."

Ridesharing and hitchhiking could become more popular with Greyhound Canada getting out of the transportation business in western Canada.

Peter Hamel, the regional vice president for Western Canada Greyhound, says this wasn't an easy decision, and he knows hundreds of thousands of British Columbians will be impacted by this.

"This is our most difficult message and this is the hardest one to answer because this affects peoples' lives, this affects communities," Hamel says. "We realize there's going to be a significant impact, this isn’t just an impact to ridership it’s an impact to our employees as well.”

More than 400 Greyhound employees across Western Canada will lose their jobs once service stops.

"It’s a difficult decision, it’s a difficult time for an iconic company such as Greyhound… that has been in B.C. since 1929," Hamel says.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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