The closure of the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC) may impact cancer patients who travel for treatment.
The province announced Wednesday it was scrapping the bus service at the end of May, leaving 224 people out of work and many users potentially stranded.
Philip Racette, 65, is currently being treated five days a week for prostate cancer. He takes the STC from Prince Albert to Saskatoon, about 142 kilometres each way, for every visit.
“I was very disappointed when I heard the news, but it just wasn’t for medical reasons – I’ve taken the bus all my life,” he said.
Racette has 35 treatments left and will be finished just before STC shuts down. He’s concerned others, however, may be faced with additional barriers now the service is ending.
“The government’s big complaint is subsidizing the service, but so what? They give breaks to the farmers and everybody else,” he said.
Cancer society ‘watching closely’
In 2016, the Canadian Cancer Society helped 300 people take the bus roundtrip from their communities to Saskatoon for treatment.
It also offers a free shuttle to patients from the bus depot to their appointments.
“I was shocked like most of Saskatchewan, but I immediately thought about the effects it would have on our cancer patients,” said Donna Pasiechnik with the Canadian Cancer Society.
“Even on Wednesday, when STC shut down for the day, we had people calling our office worried about how they would get to their appointments.”
Pasiechnik said there’s a level of anxiety from their clients about the shutdown.
“They want to know what the closure is going to mean for them getting to appointments,” she said.
“We will be watching this closely and address any shortcomings if they arise.”
On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Greyhound told 650 CKOM it’s assessing the situation. There’s no word yet on whether the bus company will add any additional routes in Saskatchewan.