Out-of-town students forced to find new routes to school
DANI BOILY, CONTRIBUTOR
Students relying on the Beaver Bus Lines service from Selkirk to Winnipeg must find alternative transportation to school, as the route is being discontinued on July 1.
Nicole Melvin, a 20-year-old business administration student at RRC, has been using Beaver Bus Lines since starting college in 2014. She takes the bus to school every day and spends $133 every two weeks on bus tickets.
Melvin pays the student price. A book of 20 tickets, which covers two weeks, costs $152 for an adult commuter from Selkirk to Winnipeg.
Melvin said she would rather pay for the pricey tickets than drive her old, unreliable car into the city every day and have to find parking.
“I don’t want to have to fight every morning when I could just get dropped off at city hall,” Melvin said.
The route is being cancelled due to a loss of ridership and increased costs of running the line, according to the Beaver Bus Lines website.
John Fehr, the general manager for Beaver Bus Lines, said ridership has decreased by 15 to 20 per cent in the past year.
He said many people find more convenience in driving or carpooling, adding the people who currently ride the bus are people who have no other options.
During the school year, approximately 300 people per day rely on the service, according to Fehr.
“We can’t afford to keep [the route] going. It’s not feasible anymore,” Fehr said.
He said ridership is at its peak when school starts and it drops off around April when fewer than 200 people use the service.
“They blamed it on [the decrease in ridership], but when I take the bus it’s always full,” Melvin said.
“I just feel really bad for the people who have to take it for work,” Melvin said. “I’m done in April, so it’s fine. But for the people who have to take it in every single day, they’re going to have to either move or car pool.”
The bus also stops in Middlechurch, Rivercrest, St. Andrews and Lockport. Greg Dewar, the NDP candidate for Selkirk, said in a news release if elected, he would work on finding a solution for transportation between Selkirk and Winnipeg.