Station operator to close café
GOING OFF LINE..
Gravenhurst train station and café manager Glynis Allen will be ceasing operations of the facility at the end of January due to lost guaranteed income with the ending of the Ontario Northlander passenger rail service and the uncertain future of bus services locally.
Photo by Neil Etienne
January 9, 2013
GRAVENHURST - The Gravenhurst train station’s historical plaque may be the only greeting bus travellers will get come the end of January.
Station manager Glynis Allen says with the halting of Ontario Northlander passenger rail service on Sept. 28, a drop in bus ticket sales due to the new Corridor 11 service and future uncertainty are forcing her to give up her operations there. Her last day operating the station and the café there will be the last of January.
“I had to start thinking about it (shutting down service) when I lost the train, the corridor bus was another big hit plus January, February and March are bad months (for business) as it is,” Allen said. “I can’t last that long.”
The station is owned by the municipality, and Allen, who has worked at the station for nearly a decade, four as the manager, operates the station and café there for the travelling public. She explained the Gravenhurst station café had been responsible for providing the now-defunct passenger rail service food for its trips north and south.
“That was a guaranteed $17,000 in income a year taken away right there and that doesn’t include the ticket sales,” she said, adding 10 per cent of ticket sales went to the station operator in income. “With the (provincial) government out and the Ontario Northlander bus services issues not being dealt with I have to give up.
“There’s too many ifs and people can’t live on ifs,” she added.
When the passenger rail service ended, Allen was forced to give up two employees and trimmed back the station hours of operation in an attempt to save money and keep the service open as long as possible for those still touring through on busses. But the decline in bus traffic and ticket sales combined with the uncertain future as the province considers divesting itself of the operation became too heavy a burden to bear.
“It’s (viability of the station service) too related to too many factors; it’s all just very frustrating,” she said.
Over the weekend of Jan. 5, Allen sold off and moved out of her condo near the station to a smaller apartment in town. She said she’s going to have to seek new employment, even if that is a difficult prospect for her.
“I’ll do what I have to to pay the rent, but I’m 62 years old; who’s going to hire me,” she said.
The station was given a plaque to celebrate its historical designation during a ceremony in late June, 2012, more than 90 years since the station opened at its current location on the corner of Bethune and Brock streets.
The town purchased the building in 1986 after its previous owner, CN, had planned to demolish it.
Allen said although the station and café will close, the busses will keep stopping there.
No one from the town could be reached for comment by press time, but as the municipality owns the building, if it is to be re-staffed, a tender or Request for Proposals process would have to be undertaken. With the station’s closure, it also means there will now be no manned train stations between Union Station in Toronto and North Bay.
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