Passenger service essential in region

From the time the Canadian Pacific Railway was built, subsidized passenger rail travel was provided.

Dear Editor:

From the time the Canadian Pacific Railway was built, subsidized passenger rail travel was provided — the distances in Canada between settlements, towns and cities was too great.

Ordinary people in the early days could not afford to pay the actual cost of passenger service.

Over the many years since passenger rail service was provided, the passenger trains always lost money. CPR and later CNR was paid a subsidy to keep the passenger service rolling. Today, the one railway that is not openly subsidized is the Rocky Mountain Rail Service.

Today bus service between towns and cities is an essential service: The Okanagan Valley has  large numbers of retired senior citizens: Many of those folks on limited pension, cannot afford the cost of air travel.

In 1987 CN and CP was let off the passenger rail hook. A new passenger rail service Via Rail — a taxpayer subsidized passenger rail service was introduced. CN-CP Rail sold their passenger rail rolling stock to Via for $500 million. What Via — the taxpayers — had actually acquired was $500 million worth of rolling junk. Most CN-CP passenger rail cars were worn out.

By the winter of 1991-92 one hundred cars were taken out of service due to major under carriage failure.

Those worn out cars were replaced by the Quebec manufacturer, Bombardier. God only knows how much Bombardier was paid by taxpayers to build the new Via Rail cars.

A simple means to provide the bus service would be to allow Greyhound buses to carry first class mail.

The government would kill two birds with one stone.

Greyhound, in the 1950s actually started the courier business in North America. Bus Parcel Express was a winner; why Greyhound dropped their courier monopoly is a mystery.

Regardless of why they did it should not matter. The mail service should be reinstated. The mail transportation business would actually not be a subsidy. Carrying passengers and first class mail would be a winner for everybody.

A side bar to such an arrangement would to be to actually have daily mail service once again between towns and cities with shorter bus routes..

Ernie Slump

Penticton