British Columbia

Woman, 80, left in lurch after snowy weather affects B.C. Bus North service

A northern B.C. senior says she spent several hours waiting for a bus from Vanderhoof to Prince Rupert that didn't show up.

B.C. Transit says bus eventually made its route and attempts were made to contact passengers

The B.C. government launched B.C. Bus North to replace routes that Greyhound Canada stopped servicing. (B.C. Transit)

A northern B.C. senior says she spent several long and confusing hours waiting for a bus in Vanderhoof that was scheduled to take her to Prince Rupert but didn't arrive.

Marion Weir, 80, waited to take the B.C. Bus North home to Prince Rupert on Dec. 29, but the provincially-operated bus didn't come, she said.

B.C. Bus North is a provincially run bus service that began last year as a one-year pilot after Greyhound routes in northern B.C. were eliminated.

Weir was visiting family in Fort St. James over Christmas. She had a ticket to take B.C. Bus North back to Prince Rupert. The bus doesn't stop in Fort St. James, so her daughter brought her to the bus stop in Vanderhoof, the closest community.

When the bus didn't arrive, Weir called the service number but found little help.

A woman on the line told Weir it was due at 12 noon. "We said, 'It's 12:30 and there's no bus.'"

"I said, 'I know it's not your fault, but I am 80 years old and I'm getting a little tired of waiting here,'" Weir said.

Eventually, she gave up trying to board the bus and later took the train home. "We wasted almost a whole day."

'We will drive to the road conditions'

B.C. Transit's Jonathon Dyck says B.C. Bus North bus service did run that day but was about two-and-a-half hours late due to snowy weather.

"We work hard to provide service that's adhering to the schedule, however, we also want to make sure that we're providing a safe service at the same time," Dyck said.

He says the contracted bus operator did contact passengers with updates about every 30 minutes.

He said the company encourages riders to leave a cell phone number when they book so the call centre can reach them about unusual delays or cancellations.

If a rider does not have a cell phone, he said they are encouraged to call the bus service before they go to the bus stop to make sure the service is on time.

With files from Nicole Oud


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