STC closure leaves a gap for rural riders

A Moose Jaw-bound STC bus leaves Bennett’s Garage in Chamberlain on Wednesday afternoon, one of the final departures as the company wound up operations last week. (Garage owner Lyle Bennett can be seen at left taking a video of the bus leaving.)

By Joel van der Veen

CHAMBERLAIN — At a quick glance, or even a long, hard stare, Bennett’s Garage doesn’t look like a major traffic hub.

But for decades, the Chamberlain business — a garage, service station and confectionery — has been a central checkpoint for Saskatchewan bus travellers and freight along Highway 11.

Three times a day, in the morning, early afternoon and evening, buses from Moose Jaw, Regina and Saskatoon would meet in the middle at Bennett’s.

Passengers would switch buses when necessary, sometimes stopping in to buy a snack or use the facilities. Then the buses rolled on.

That all ended Wednesday, as the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC), a victim of changing times and deficit budgets, ended operations after 71 years in business.

Lyle Bennett, whose family has owned and operated the garage in Chamberlain for almost a century, said many of the drivers and even some passengers had become familiar faces.

“We got to know them on a first-name basis,” he said, calling the STC’s closure a loss. “It was a good schedule and it served the people of Saskatchewan well.”

The province had announced in March that it would end operating and capital subsidies to the STC, which was established under the CCF government of Tommy C. Douglas in 1946.

As a result, the company would stop accepting freight for delivery on May 19, and passenger services would end on May 31.

For the full story, please see the June 5 edition of The Davidson Leader or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.

Comments are closed.