The last ride

Hey, time traveler!
This article is published in 2/11/2018 (212 days ago)
Therefore, the information in it may no longer be up to date.
Skye, Creaton. —
The headlights peeped through the snow, illuminating this quiet road, just across the border from Saskatchewan, which is almost inseparable from it.
The bus rumbled on the street on time.
Under the eaves of the Coutts convenience center, a group of passengers stood there waiting.
Over the past 30 minutes, they slowly entered, holding bags in their hands and bright cheeks in the cold.
The bus bypassed the corner and sighed as soon as it arrived at the station.
The door opened and the driver jumped down.
He has bright eyes.
Short gray hair.
A patch was sewn on his uniform to mark his years behind the wheel.
\"Where are you going?
He asked with great interest the people who were crowded together.
His name is Doug Stern. he knows the program very well.
He is 67 years old and has been driving Greyhound buses for 43 years, most of them between Winnipeg and flynveron, nearly 900 kilometers per road.
Outside the bus, he checked his passenger list.
Six people left Flin Flon tonight, which is the average load on the station.
As the bus goes south, there will be more passengers on board
Although tonight is not full as most nights.
There is a story for every passenger.
After visiting friends, two young men came home to Winnipeg;
Lisa La Rosa has the same story as her son;
Justin Spencer is home to Nelson for the first time in two years.
Spencer will only be on the bus for a few hours.
He will get off at Pas, where he will board 10-
It takes an hour to go to Thompson\'s train.
Since then, he will take a ride to Nelson\'s house where his mother is buried.
He wants to see her grave.
In the vast northern part of Manitoba, the transportation here binds most of the rhythm of life.
It was a cold night, and the stern driver hovered in the convenience store, waiting for the time to get off work.
He joked that it is OK to leave early tonight;
He\'s just kidding.
On his watch, the bus always leaves on time.
The phone rang at the convenience store and the owner answered.
He told Stern that a woman from Napa was on the phone.
She wanted to know if the bus left Flin Flon as planned so that when it stopped in her town at 4 in the morning she could jump on. m.
Stern laughs.
He said it was coming and he looked at the watch --it is 7:27 p. m.
The driver turned and walked outside the door.
Before he left, he looked back for the owner.
The two held their hands with open arms, which was the last farewell.
\"It was a pleasure to work with you,\" Stern said . \". \"Good luck.
\"This is the last Greyhound bus in Flynn.
In a few hours, the company will stop its prairie province route forever.
For 83 years, the bus line has set up a network in Manitoba;
Now, it will disappear with the morning dew.
Farewell is over.
It\'s time to move on.
On the bus, Stern climbed up the driver\'s seat and did some final checks to turn off the lights in the car.
The engine of the bus roared as it turned, and the vehicle tilted towards the street.
The bus takes less than 12 hours to Winnipeg.
Along the way, it will travel through more than 30 outposts of rural life, scattered on the shields of the North and the plains of the North, and finally on the flat prairie.
The name of the station will run together with the rolling of the bus, the blur of Manitoba: Wanless. Minitonas. Pine River. McCreary.
When it finally arrives in Winnipeg, it will herald the end of a network that connects lifeline to small communities for a long time, bringing people low
The cost method of entering and leaving.
Followed closely by a small bus line cobbled together by a small bus line.
Will these efforts succeed?
What happens if they don\'t.
Only time will tell us.
Now, at the beginning of this end, Stern leads the bus to the highway.
The lights of Flin Flon disappeared and were weakened by wet snow floating over the city.
It may be his last trip, but his daily life will remain the same.
He told the passengers on the bus speakers: \"Let me know if you find the temperature is too hot or too hot . \".
\"It will be my last trip, so I would like to wish you all a pleasant journey and thank you for taking the Greyhound bus line.
The road has become more rugged.
The ditches became wider.
The lights of the house became more sparse until they punctured the blue of the night --
A rare black shawl with a flashing beam.
A signal, a reminder: there are people out there.
To get to know the expanse of western Canada, maybe you have to take a bus at least once.
The Earth unfolds in front of you. there is no space and time, no space and time.
At home, not enough in the city;
But here, it is limited to the need for a drive that has not yet been liberated from Labor, and there is nothing else.
The place you left was gone.
The place you are going is far away.
You will try to read and sleep when the phone service stops.
Try to find the idea of getting enough electricity to ignite a machine that is suddenly resting with an overstimulated brain.
Outside the window, your eyes are on the top of the pine tree of cangpines, against the smaller darkness of the sky.
You can learn the theme of bus music from the Heart: The Wheels on the road, the bass of the engine rumbling, the impact breath from the mechanical system.
The vehicle roared in the opposite direction.
This is your life for the next 12 hours.
There is nothing to do but surrender to the bus.
In fact, it does not require much.
The surface of any problem is hard enough to touch, and the story of Western and Northern Canada is always a story of connection and disjointed.
In order to thrive here, communities must maintain a constant balance between attribution and segregation.
On the most basic level, this is a traffic problem.
In the north, the communities are described by the way they are connected: you can reach by car, train, plane, some combination above or a combination.
Residents are always aware of these fragile connections.
On Wednesday night, hours after the last Greyhound bus crossed Manitoba, Churchill\'s People cheered when they first heard the train whistle in 17 months.
Flin Flon, though not as far away as Churchill, has the same story in its bones.
More than a century ago, exploration personnel traveled long distances into the area, setting up camps, scraping meager lives from beautiful but daunting terrain.
\"I tried to imagine how they came here, and the long number went through the bushes,\" said city councillor Ken Pawlachuk . \".
\"There is no rail, and the road ends somewhere along the highway around Winnipeg.
But here they are.
\"One day, a Matisse catcher named David Collins asked the surveyor Tom Creaton to identify some of the shiny rocks he found in a nearby lake.
This led to the discovery of a large amount of copper and zinc still being mined there today.
Getting people and goods in and out of Flin Flon was an ongoing challenge from the start.
The engineers came up with a way to build the railway through an unfriendly maze of Maersk and rocks;
The frozen solid in winter begins to rot after thawing.
Winter of 1927-
28. they started construction on the railway, which will give Flin Flon life.
The tracks are first laid on the frozen ground, and the crew will go back and support them after they sink into the wet ground in the spring.
Nevertheless, the land is still fighting the connection.
Under the trestle was covered with huge sinkholes, leaving the track hanging in the middleair.
Some nights the staff work nearbythe-
Clock, dump the gravel into the abyss that yawns from the Earth.
Incredibly, despite these obstacles, the railway was completed in just nine months.
These pains are far from the collective memory of Flynn Furon.
Near the city\'s famous statue of the same name, Flintabbatey Flonatin, there is an outdoor museum of used transportation equipment that is full of wind and frost.
Behind a thin fence sits an old forest tractor sled that crawls along frozen lakes at 3 miles an hour.
In 1928, the tractors carried 29,000 tons of goods and built the dam north of Flynn;
They used it until 1952.
One by one, there is a new connection with flynveron, and every new connection makes the city blossom and bear fruit.
Even today, residents sometimes take a closer look at the photos, look for the date, and finally say, \"it must be before the road.
\"In this case, the road is the trunk highway of Provincial Highway 10.
On 1952, it arrived at Flin Flon with an optimistic ribbon --
Cutting ceremony
Until today, Flin Flon is still the terminal, the last community of north west side connectivity in Manitoba.
When the road opened, Pawlachuk was only two years old.
But he remembered that the highway was just a narrow gravel belt,
He said it took about four hours to make 140.
A kilometer trip to Pas.
That said, the road paved the way for the prosperity of Flin Flon.
Soon after the road was completed, the bus service moved in;
Business follow-up.
During the peak period of 1960 s, the population of the city reached 15,000;
Set at 5,000 today.
Even on the road, Flin Flon\'s isolated history has left a lasting mark on the community.
In the early days of the mine, Hudson Bay mining and smelting company tried to keep workers happy and promote entertainment and entertainment.
This legacy continues decades later.
Despite its sheer size, Flin Flon is one of the most artistic vibrant communities in Manitoba, filled with music festivals and artist groups;
Every two years, residents will stage a dazzling musical.
Oil last year.
They will be mommy next spring.
Tickets for the show are sold out every year.
So it\'s a balance for remote communities.
When left to their own devices, they can thrive and create space for the creation of culture.
But in order to survive, in order to maintain daily life and business operations, they need to maintain a stable connection with the outside world.
For a while, it was greyhound that provided a community like Flin Flon.
Its route is saturated in the north and west and permeates communities in almost no other place, which is a reliable low
Cost to the rest of the world.
It\'s not just about moving.
In big cities like Winnipeg, the flow of goods is a stable leader, and the logistics of transporting goods is rarely considered by the public.
But in Flynn, a stable cargo service is crucial.
The Greyhound carries a trailer full of goods every day.
Lawyer\'s documentsCar parts.
Medical equipment shipped from the city
Passengers sometimes board the plane and find a batch of flowers in the front seats.
\"A lot of local businesses rely on this,\" said Pawlachuk . \".
\"The freight does compensate for the low freight.
\"When these choices are taken away, people here already know what will happen.
On May 2017, the province shut down its bus company.
Some private companies moved in to take over some lines, but others were left unattended.
After the closure, Creighton did not have a bus connection with the province.
A private business is involved in handling some shipments, working long hours and shipping goods to and from Saskatoon.
Other residents and businesses ship their gray dogs from Winnipeg.
\"For something like a water test sample, they now have to find a different place to send,\" said Sandra Schroeder, a Creighton resident . \".
\"They like to go to Winnipeg because they have buses.
I don\'t know what these two towns will do now.
\"Schroeder knows how important Greyhound is to Flynn Furon and anyone there.
In 2008, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had two young children at home.
There is a family in Winnipeg where she chooses to be treated.
The bus became her lifeline.
In the year she was diagnosed, she went to Winnipeg by Greyhound eight times;
Recently, she spent time or two a year monitoring her health with doctors in the city.
At her most recent visit, she was officially discharged from the hospital by an oncologist on July.
In retrospect, she said, she could not imagine how difficult it would be if it were not a bus;
She avoided flying due to another situation.
Now Schroeder is concerned about what the collapse of the Greyhound route means to others.
If you can\'t drive by yourself, it\'s hard to get out of Flin Flon.
Flights are expensive; short-
Flights to Winnipeg cost $1,700.
By contrast, even the last timeminute round-
Travel buses from flynveron to Winnipeg totaled $230.
This means that many people who leave by bus are the ones who need the bus most.
In the north of Manitoba, the longest
The long-distance bus passengers are local.
Many people are elders and visit their families or doctors in big cities. For them—
For young people who are out looking for a job or women who want to escape from abusive families --
The crumbling bus service means that there is no affordable way to get in and out unless you can find a car.
\"This is critical for places like us,\" Schroeder said . \".
\"With the mining town, you will encounter many extreme situations.
Mines, they\'re good. paying jobs.
Health care is a high-paying job.
\"But you already have all the remote First Nation communities that are the only means of transportation for them.
This will make more people more vulnerable.
\"Also, the Greyhound is there when air travel can\'t crack Flin Flon.
Last week, just a few days before his last run, Stern driver received a phone call to pick up 10 passengers stranded at Flin Flon Airport
Travel kilometers outside the city.
In the snowy weather, the plane could not take off;
At the small airport in Flin Flon, they also couldn\'t land in places with poor visibility.
But the bus can be a soldier where the plane does not dare to go.
So even with fewer passengers in the past 15 years, it continues to move forward.
Constantly pick up people who need to get out of Flin Flon or come in and take them forward.
Just because the Greyhound is broken, these people are not going anywhere.
\"People go to town by bus and leave the city by bus,\" said Pawlachuk . \".
\"What are they going to do now? I don’t know.
Who are you asleep?
Know everywhere.
You wake up in two hours, a few hundred kilometers.
In the dark, you narrow your eyes to make changes on the terrain to judge your progress.
So far, after a few hours of the journey, you have learned about the quirks of the bus.
There is a power outlet that does not work.
The door of the bathroom, the function of the lock is very strange.
A man in the first two rows coughed badly.
You want to know if other passengers have noticed some minor things like that on you.
You smell, bite your nails, move your way.
It would be great if they did;
The bus is democratic.
There is no first class.
There are no better seats than the others, unless you prefer to recline on the window, the window will rattle your neck or in the aisle people will push you to the back
There are very few rules about how to sit, so the body will rest in disorder.
The short man curled up in the position of the fetus and used their fur coat as a pillow;
The tall man stretched his legs onto the aisle, an empty mattress.
Some nights, the driver looked for the missing person while counting their heads and found them asleep under their seats.
Maybe these shapes are the essence of length.
The Canadian bus, its most authoritative cargo: several bodies caught in the hanging animation, toss and upset.
No matter who they are or where they come from, it\'s the same.
This is Canada. there is no modification.
This is probably not the most fascinating way to travel.
But to some extent, this is the most honest.
At Greyhound, when the company cut its route to Manitoba, the driver began to see the text on the wall.
Nevertheless, when the company announced in July that it would close operations in the Prairie provinces, the final result was shocking.
\"We never thought it would end,\" Stern said . \".
\"But the truth is, people don\'t ride anymore.
Drivers know that the number of passengers has been declining for years.
There may be many factors: more people own cars.
Some rural communities are shrinking.
More First Nations began to operate their own medical transportation.
Stern driver said that in the \"good past\", there were more than 130 drivers in Manitoba alone during peak service hours.
They are stationed across the province and drivers work in Winnipeg, Brandon and Thompson.
Greyhound is a great place to work, he said, with a \"very good atmosphere\" and a pleasant friendship with the driver.
In those days, there are many runs to choose from, including going to Flin Flon three times a day.
That Winnipeg-
Flin Flon day run is very popular among drivers.
It is 12 hours each time, which means that the driver compresses the working hours of the week to two days.
So you drive there, stay for one night, come back and have a three-day break.
At some point the route is so popular that it takes about 25 years for a driver to have a chance.
\"I\'m lucky,\" Stern said . \"
\"I started after the good times we ran three times, so I was able to catch it.
\"He will run in the next 27 years.
Once, his dentist asked him if he was bored and the same route every day.
Stern just smiled and then asked another question: Will dentists get bored drilling their teeth every day?
The truth, he said, is that the day to go to Flin Flon was enjoyable.
He has regular passengers and he will talk to them for a few hours;
Schroeder is one of them.
He likes to see the flowers bloom in spring, and the animals fly around in the trees.
But it\'s coming to an end.
At a meeting with municipal and health authorities across Manitoba on 2012, Greyhound executives broke the news that they could not keep the North running without more help.
Manitoba began subsidizing Northern routes after Greyhound threatened to cut services in 2009.
The province has invested $8 over the next three years.
4 million, and change the rules of transport to invite more competition.
But now the province is ready to withdraw its funds.
The representative of Flin Flon noted that the province is already subsidizing municipal public transportat that time—was a 50-50 agreement;
Is that okay?
\"I\'m not saying I\'m against it,\" said Pawlachuk . \".
Northern Manitoba ,(intercity)
Sometimes bus service is more important than southern Manitoba.
Like a railway, it serves a community.
There is nothing but the airline.
But the province insists no subsidies will be provided.
In July, Greyhound cut more than a dozen routes.
Thompson went to Flynn.
Buses connecting Winnipeg and flynveron, which were running twice a day at that time, were cut to one night run.
After they cut off the route, Stern drove to Thompson.
When they also cut off the route, he returned to the familiar Flin Flon jaunt.
No more appreciation of plants or animals;
The whole trip was almost carried out in the dark.
\"In the evening, you walk along the highway, and all you see is the yellow line coming at you,\" he said . \".
To some extent, this decision may have accelerated the decline of greyhound.
Buses coming out of Flin Flon are more popular with passengers;
During the night run, the bus crashed into the Prince after driving for more than six hours before it stopped in an unopened place.
But night shipping is more popular with freight customers, who have to send packages to the warehouse in time for the night all day.
So this is to stay, which makes the journey of some people even more uncomfortable.
\"The bus has become difficult to take,\" said Pawlachuk . \". \"An 11-
One hour by bus at night. . .
This is not a good place if you are sick.
The money was transferred to the health care department, so now they are getting people out to see a doctor.
Passengers keep falling.
So far this year, the number of drivers in Manitoba has been reduced to about 30.
When the news of the impending closure came out, many young drivers
Not eligible for severance pay
Resign to find a new job. The old-
The timer stayed in order to finish their service.
Many people, like Stern, love their work and don\'t want to leave it.
There may be new opportunities for some drivers.
In western Canada, the private services sector is working to fill some of the gaps left when the Greyhound network crashed, taking over the spokes on the wheels.
In Thompson, a new bus company began serving the North.
Last week, the first national bus line in Kelsey
According to the bylaws owned by Pas, it is announced that it will take over Flin Flon-
The Winnipeg route started this week.
It is unclear how these new efforts will work.
Even with the benefits of a wider network and deeper pockets, Greyhound has lost money on this route for years.
Can smaller operators maintain consistent services?
\"I think it will be a struggle for them,\" said Pawlachuk sadly.
\"It\'s not a lot of money --making thing.
Time will tell us.
Nevertheless, whether the new operator is a failure or a success, there is something to stay with at this moment.
Once, Greyhound is built on the promise of a brighter, interconnected Canada;
Now, the dream has passed.
That night, before the last Greyhound bus left, a taxi driver took a pair of reporters to the convenience store. off.
He brought gray dogs several times these years.
Not from Flin Flon, though.
Still, the driver went on to say that he was sad to see it disappear.
\"You know, there\'s always too much to come to an end,\" he said, and maybe that\'s all it is.
Now, the bus is your universe.
The bus is your world.
Passengers, citizens of a nomadic people.
Every few hours, you spill over during the break and hover around the side of the bus.
This is your life boat on this lonely road, the only thing between you and others --the-heck-are-you-gonna-do now.
So you\'re not far from it.
Also, there is no place to go and there is no place to see.
Sidewalks, gravel, grass.
A rural bus stop with corrugated metal siding with no features.
Cigarette smoke rolled into the lights from the headlights of the bus.
No matter how far you go in Canada or where the bus stops, something familiar still exists.
There\'s always a Tim Hortons or there\'s a gas station
Bright lights and a row of Ham refrigeratedand-
Cheese Sandwich
There are always paid phones on the wall.
There is always a feeling of loneliness in the world.
The bus driver said twenty minutes.
It seems to be too long, and not long at all.
You list what you want to do: stretch your legs, breathe the air, have a cup of coffee and pee.
Once all of this is done, you can reconnect with the other passengers.
There was a time when you stood in the dark
Light up the darkness together, shivering in the cold.
Comfortable quietness hangs over the crowded crowd, and everyone else remains silent except for the hum and purring from the idle engine of the bus.
There is nothing to say, nothing to say, and nothing to say.
You took a look at the thin face. after all this, you are familiar with it: two hours, five hours, ten hours.
You don\'t even know their names.
You have crossed the vast area of Canada together, but you may never see each other again.
The driver climbed the bus after drinking his coffee.
The passengers wandering outside were lined up in a run-down line, following him, just as the Ducks followed their mother with due diligence.
They slid back into their seats one by one.
When the bus returns to the highway, the lights at the rest stop disappear and you look out the window.
The black of the night has become a hazy gray.
Now there are more taillights on the road ahead than before.
In your seat, you smile at yourself and sink into your coat.
The night is coming to an end.
You\'re going home.
Stern\'s last leg on his last trip as a Greyhound driver was calm.
More passengers, more rest stations, and more farewell.
At the Crown Prince, a worker of Tim Holden leaned over the counter, crossed his order and chatted for a while.
\"This is a bittersweet ending for us . \"
\"We will miss the bus driver.
\"The bus passed the surrounding highway an hour before dawn and headed for Winnipeg.
Stern guided it north to the airport along Portage Avenue, near there
The empty Greyhound factory is waiting to receive him. Forty-
Three years as a Greyhound driver.
Over 3 million miles.
This is the last one.
\"On behalf of the company, our staff and myself, I thank you for taking the Greyhound bus line,\" he announced . \".
An hour later, three Liberal ministers will hold a press conference in Ottawa.
They would say that the government of Canada understands the importance of greyhound cuts, especially for the elderly and indigenous peoples.
In a press release, the federal government said a lot but did nothing.
The federal government is \"prepared to help provinces identify the best way forward\" and \"willing to consider ways to find an effective solution \".
\"The Manitoba government will say it is interested in hearing a proposal, but will not help fund it.
Whatever the interests of the federal governmentif anything—
It\'s too late for Greyhound.
It was too late for Stern, whose career allowed people to cross the vast wilderness of Manitoba, but he was still not ready to retire.
He drove the car into the station and drove it into the park.
Passengers stood up and whispered: in the bay outside, a television news worker was waiting to interview the last group of gray dogs in Manitoba.
When the passengers got off the bus, Stern stood by the bus door and said goodbye to them.
He still has a job for the greyhound.
He will help move the bus from Alberta to Ontario.
But this is the last time he\'s done this routine.
\"I might be sitting in a dark corner of my home, sullen for about a week,\" he said . \".
\"But I will overcome it.
I\'m fine.
\"The taxi driver for Flynn is right.
Too many things seem to be over.
But what will never change for who.
For things that cannot be calculated with money, it is always for those who need it most. melissa.
Martin @ freepressmb.
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