STC closure a ‘complete outrage’: bus rider with rare brain cancer

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WATCH: Criticism after the province moves to shut down the Saskatchewan Transportation Company. – Mar 23, 2017

Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC) customers expressed disappointment on Thursday after learning the provincial government plans to end the services May 31.

Nigel Fernandez, who has a rare brain cancer, moved from Saskatoon to Regina about a year ago. He returns for appointments at the Saskatoon Cancer Centre.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan Transportation Company to cease operations

He makes the trip every three to six months via the soon-to-be-shuttered STC bus service.

“This is a complete outrage because there are so many people that rely on it for work [and] dialysis,” Fernandez said.

He also sees a brain rehabilitative specialist and a neuro-opthamologist in Saskatoon. Only his Saskatoon doctors are familiar with his rare and complicated history.

The Saskatchewan Cancer Agency uses STC freight services to ship drugs and other supplies, spending approximately $18,000 on shipping per year.

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About 70-plus packages from the agency are sent monthly from Regina and Saskatoon.

Canadian Blood Services also sends products on STC buses.

Freight service will continue until May 19.

FULL COVERAGE: Saskatchewan Budget 2017: sales tax increasing to deal with $685M deficit

STC serves 253 communities in Saskatchewan.

FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron noted many rural people, indigenous and non-indigenous, will be affected including seniors with medical needs.

“What if one of them dies because there’s no transportation available? That’s the reality and this government is going to have to answer that should that ever happen,” Cameron said.

“We hope it doesn’t.”

Keeping STC in operations would have cost $85 million in subsidies over five years, according to provincial government figures.

“There was a company that phoned our office this morning, asking what the procedure would be and we were referring them to the Highway Traffic Board,” Hargrave told reporters Thursday.

Though he declined to name the company, Hargrave confirmed it wasn’t Greyhound Canada.

READ MORE: Greyhound passengers stranded after winter storm closes Sask.-Man. Border

“We’re currently assessing any potential impact this may have on Greyhound’s operations and our customers,” Greyhound spokesperson Lanesha Gipson said in a statement.

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“However, at this time, we don’t have any immediate plans to pick up additional routes.”

Regular STC schedules will continue until the company ceases operations.