With the Thanksgiving weekend fast approaching, many of you will be going out of town for the first time since coming to university. For those of you without your own car, you will likely have to turn to public transportation. For those of you going out of province, your options may be limited. But some new competition just opened up for travel within our region, and that means options! I’m here to tell you about which options are available and how to know which is best for you!
(Note: for a simple cost comparison, I included the estimated price of a one way ticket between Lethbridge and Calgary. Prices may not include taxes. For complete and up-to-date information, please see the official sites of each option.)
Cost to Calgary: $25 each way (if purchased well in advance)
This is undoubtedly the cheapest option. You’ll also find that with a network of depots across the country, it can take you almost everywhere. However, you will find that the layovers in our local vicinity aren’t always the most convenient. I’m sure many students can tell you stories of waiting in Fort MacLeod for over an hour in the middle of the night. In some cities they have depots where you can stay safely indoors during a layover, but most of them close in the late afternoon, which can leave you stranded alone in the dark. That said, Greyhound is the cheapest and farthest-reaching option that we have today, and if you can find a route that works for you it is well worth your consideration.
Cost to Calgary: $55 each way
Red Arrow recently opened up service to Lethbridge, breaking a long-standing monopoly on city-to-city bus service in our region. They service all the largest cities in Alberta, and while they do cost more than their direct competition, they offer a couple of nice perks. For example, in Lethbridge you can choose to board at the U of L or the downtown terminal. Likewise, there are a couple of drop-off points in Calgary including the airport. That alone can save you a $30 taxi fare from downtown Calgary and is well worth looking into. Free beverages and snacks don’t hurt either.
Cost to Calgary: $60 each way
This one is just for trips between Calgary and Lethbridge/Coaldale. The strength of LA Shuttle is its flexibility, offering door to door service anywhere in these cities. For those of you not going to the Calgary downtown or airport, this option can save you serious cash by eliminating the need for taking a taxi to another part of the city. Of course, if you want to go downtown or to the airport, they’ll do that too!
Cost to Calgary: $100-$200 each way (depending on what time of day you depart)
Our local airport has very few airlines servicing it, so the main one for most destinations will be Air Canada. Also be prepared to pay an additional $40-$50 in taxes each way (no exaggeration), depending on the ticket price. Thanks, government… Needless to say, this option is often out of reach. Flights may be your only option if you have to get far away in a short amount of time, but for nearby destinations it may be worth it to take the highway.
So those are your major options! All of them have pros and cons, and I hope I helped you make the best decision for your needs. If you know of any others that I missed, feel free to leave a comment below. Happy trails!