Regular passenger service between La Ronge and Prince Albert has ended as both companies operating on the route aren’t attracting enough customers to remain viable.
“I would like to continue,” L.A. Family Shuttle owner Vi Werchola, who also owns a fleet of taxis in La Ronge, said. “Unless we have the public’s support, we’re not going to be able to. It’s not feasible the way it is like one person here and there. [I] don’t even make enough to cover … expenses.”
While Werchola hasn’t cancelled the service completely, she’s only accepting pre-booked trips with four passengers or more. She noted that’s the only way she can keep the route going without losing money, adding the cost of an adult ticket is $60 which she believes is a good price. Werchola said transporting less than four people means she’s unable to cover expenses like gasoline and the driver’s wage.
If there’s one reason Werchola believes L.A. Family Shuttle hasn’t been successful is because of people accepting rides from one another on Facebook. She said there are tri-community residents on the page La Ronge Travellers every day looking for or offering rides to places like Prince Albert. Some people online are accepting rides from friends and family on the page, but Werchola warned they should be cautious when making travel arrangements with strangers.
“I think it’s pretty crazy and dangerous people are doing it,” she said. “I think it’s because we live in such a small community, because you wouldn’t see that in Saskatoon or Prince Albert.”
Werchola is also surprised she had to end the regular service, which she started in June, noting there was so much of an outcry when the Saskatchewan Transportation Company was winded down. Those wishing to book a ride with Werchola can reach her at 1-306-420-4848.
Meanwhile, Prince Albert-based KCTI is no longer running weekday routes to La Ronge as a company representative stated the service is now on hold. KCTI was also offering rides for $60 and, when it launched in August, co-owner Charanjit Singh said they had plans to expand if it was busy enough. The company began operating on a former Greyhound route between Saskatoon and Edmonton effective Nov. 1.
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