Vancouver women’s organization says Greyhound’s withdrawal raises safety concerns

Greyhound has cut routes through the prairie provinces as a result of declining ridership. File / Global News

The Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter is calling on the province for a reliable and affordable transportation service to keep women safe across B.C. and Canada.

The organization says when Greyhound ends service in Western Canada at the end of October, women won’t have safe options.

Spokesperson Tannis Larsen said come November 1, she’s afraid for women and children who will need to travel.

“What are we going to do? I can’t think of any other option that would be safe, so that’s why I was alarmed,” Larsen said.

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“They’ll be stranded, they’ll be on the sides of the highway, they’ll be hitchhiking, they won’t have a reliable way of getting away to another city, to another service, they’ll stay in a place or a situation where they’re not safe,” she said.

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“Part of the issue is our shelters locally, and our women’s transition houses locally, and in the whole Lower Mainland, are operating at a maximum capacity.”

She said women are choosing to travel to other municipalities to get the shelters and services they need and without an affordable way of travelling they will be stuck.

“It’s difficult for women to get interurban transportation … they need it to get safe, they don’t have other options that will be safe,” she said.

“They may not even have any money to pay for any transportation or anyone to rely on, so they call us and we rely on the Greyhound system to get them somewhere.”

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Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said with the withdrawal of Greyhound from B.C., she understands why people are worried about how it will impact them and has the same concerns.

Trevena said she wants British Columbians to know that the government will not leave people stranded without access to transportation and is focusing efforts on finding solutions.

She said B.C. will be urging the federal government to work with Greyhound to extend the notice period, and to make sure people have safe and reliable transportation options.

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Trevena said the province will continue to work with federal and local partners to find a solution that ensures people in B.C. will have access to safe, affordable and reliable ground transportation.

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