The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is reiterating the importance of accessible and frequent transportation.

The inquiry is again making the calls after Greyhound Canada announced earlier this week it was shutting down much of its western Canada operations. Here in Saskatchewan, the routes will be discontinued October 31.

The inquiry says that many people testified that many Indigenous women and girls were forced to hitchhike due to the lack of public transportation, especially those living in remote and northern communities because they do not own vehicles to travel to medical appointments in cities.

The inquiry says during the Saskatoon hearings, it heard that the closure of the Saskatchewan Transit Company was impacting Indigenous communities.

Greyhound says it has seen a 41 per cent decline in ridership since 2010, as the rationale behind its decision to stop service. The provincial government is citing similar statistics for its decision to cease STC operations.

“STC experienced similar reductions over this timeline, with a 77 decrease in ridership since 1980 and a 35 per cent decrease in ridership since 2012. The publicly subsidized operation of bus services remains unfeasible and would require massive taxpayer subsidies of over $80 million over the next five years. As such, the decision to wind down operations at the STC will not be revisited,” Director of Cabinet Communications Jim Billington stated in a press release.

Billington says the government is optimistic the private sector will step in to fill the void. The inquiry wants all levels of government to come together to find a solution to the transportation issue.

(PHOTO: The view from inside one of STC’s last trips. File photo.)