Chelsie Kazakoff

Chelsie Kazakoff

Family shaking its head in disbelief after ticketing error forces sisters off bus

The family of the Sylvan Lake girls who were stranded at a B.C. gas station after being booted off a Greyhound bus are still shaking their heads in disbelief.

The family of the Sylvan Lake girls who were stranded at a B.C. gas station after being booted off a Greyhound bus are still shaking their heads in disbelief.

Last weekend Cheslie, 12, and Jessie Kazakoff, 16, were on their way home to Sylvan Lake after visiting their mother Vanessa Aubichon in Prince George for spring break.

The girls boarded the bus in Prince George around midnight and a few hours later the bus stopped in Valemount to switch buses.

It was then the driver looked at the sisters’ tickets and told them they had expired.

“They told us our bus passes were invalid and they kicked us off,” said Jessie Kazakoff, a Grade 10 student at Notre Dame High School in Red Deer.

“It was like 2 o’clock in the morning. They explained that … the bus was (full) and we didn’t have any seats anymore. They said since they can’t leave us there since we were kids, they would do the bus switch and come back three hours later with another bus.”

Kazakoff said she only looked at her ticket and it had the correct dates on it. The girls had separate return dates on the tickets.

Kazakoff said she is fine but she is angry at the driver for not catching the error.

“(My sister) was upset, scared and worried,” said Kazakoff. “They should have been paying attention and told us when we were in Prince George.”

The girls called their mother in Prince George who arranged for a family friend to pick up the girls at the station and take them home to Alberta. The girls were safe at home in Sylvan Lake in the afternoon on April 3.

“You don’t just leave two girls behind. Who does that? Who does that?,” Aubichon told CBC News.

Robin Rattink-Kazakoff, the girls’ stepmother, is simply shaking her head in frustration over the incident. She said someone at Greyhound should have confirmed the dates when they were printed.

“I don’t know why anyone including the girls didn’t notice the tickets were expired,” she said. “Why didn’t anyone catch this?”

She said the bus driver in Prince George should have noticed the tickets had expired when he let them on the bus in Prince George only later to boot them off in Valemount.

She added people often send their kids on the Greyhound buses especially for similar visitation situations. People want to feel secure when they travel and when they send their children, she said.

“It worked out in the end but I know they will not be taking the Greyhound to B.C. at any point, anytime again,” said Rattink-Kazakoff.

The girls’ mother usually picks them up for visits but this time they were put on the Greyhound because it was cheaper, said Rattink-Kazakoff.

Greyhound spokesperson Lanesha Gipson said Greyhound is taking the matter very seriously, as the safety of its customers is the cornerstone of its business.

She said the investigation determined that the girls’ tickets had expired two days prior to the date they travelled. While they were allowed to travel from Prince George to Valemount, the bus that arrived in Valemount was at capacity. It had no empty seats for the customers to travel, she said.

The driver called the Central Dispatch office to determine if there were any seats available on the next bus for the girls.

“Dispatch advised there were seats available and he would secure two seats for the customers, although a reroute to their destination would be required,” said Gipson. “The driver asked the customers if they were comfortable travelling on the next schedule, and they agreed that it was fine with them. They later stated that their father would come pick them up instead.”

Gipson said the Valemount location is a 24-hour facility with Greyhound personnel present at all times. She said staff were aware the girls were there and kept an eye on them while they waited, until their ride came to pick them up.

“The staff had constant communication with the customers, and were always monitored as to ensure they remained safe,” she said.

Todd Stone, British Columbia’s transportation minister addressed the issue at a media scrum in the province on Thursday morning. An investigation has been launched into the incident.

“The important thing first and foremost is to make sure that we have all of the facts so we understand exactly what happened,” said Stone. “That being said, I have to say no reasonable individual would leave two children in a potentially unsafe location on the side of the road. If indeed what has been alleged actually took place, obviously it’s completely and totally unacceptable.”

Stone said part of the investigation will be to ensure there is access Greyhound’s internal investigation.

“We’re reaching out to the mother so that we can hear first hand from the mother as to exactly what happened here, but I’ve got to tell you as someone with three young daughters of my own I just cannot imagine finding out that my children were potentially left on the side of the road in the middle of the night because of a ticket not being valid,” said Stone. “We’re going to get to the bottom of this and make sure that whatever action needs to be taken will be taken.”

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Alberta vaccine rollout expanding to front-line health-care workers

More than 240,000 eligible health-care workers can begin booking vaccine appointments starting… Continue reading

File photo
The Red Deer Rebels will have three new assistant coaches when the WHL regular season starts on Friday. Brad Flynn (left), will be on the bench alongside fellow assistant Ryan Colville (right) head coach Brent Sutter (middle). (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Sutter steps down as Red Deer Rebels head coach

Red Deer Rebels Owner, GM and head coach Brent Sutter has stepped… Continue reading

Premier Jason Kenney announced $200 million more money that will benefit seniors living in continuing care on Wednesday. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta’s in-school rapid screening test program expanding

Alberta’s in-school rapid screening test program will expand to as many as… Continue reading

Parents and students learned Tuesday what the coming school year will look like. It's pretty much back to business as usual, said Education Minister Adriana LaGrange. School precautions include frequent cleaning, keeping students in the same groups where possible, planning the school day to allow for physical distancing and staying home when sick. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta’s largest school board says no to United Conservative draft school curriculum

CALGARY — Alberta’s largest school board says it will not use the… Continue reading

Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan is among those who have signed an open letter criticizing the government’s return to stricter health measures. (Advocate file photo).
Updated: Kenney tells UCP caucus COVID-19 dissent OK, breaking health rules means expulsion

15 MLAs released letter on Wednesday critical of new health restrictions

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau watches a speaker appear by videoconference during a news conference in Ottawa, Friday, April 9, 2021. Grassroots Liberals have overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution calling on the federal government to develop and implement a universal basic income — despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's apparent lack of enthusiasm for the idea. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau winds up Liberal convention with election campaign-style speech

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau wound up a three-day Liberal convention Saturday with… Continue reading

Team Canada skip Brendan Bottcher makes a shot against Italy at the Men's World Curling Championships in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, April 6, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Men’s world curling championship in Calgary in COVID limbo

CALGARY — The men’s world curling championship in Calgary remained suspended Saturday… Continue reading

Pipes intended for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline are shown in Gascoyne, N.D. on Wednesday April 22, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta
Non-profit Quebec law centre to aid environmental group targeted by Alberta oil firm

QUEBEC — The Quebec Environmental Law Centre is coming to the aid… Continue reading

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservatives cite empathy, relationships as ways to help expand their movement

OTTAWA — Conservatives should show empathy with Black residents who say they’ve… Continue reading

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. New Democrats are reconvening for the second day of a three-day policy convention as they look to push past the glitches of the virtual event's opening sessions and rally around keynote speaker John Horgan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
New Democrats reconvene as hiccups, frustrations plague national policy convention

OTTAWA — New Democrats reconvened Saturday for the second day of a… Continue reading

FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 23, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a joint statement with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Former President Donald Trump plans to affirm his commitment to the Republican Party — and raise the possibility that someone else will be the GOP's next presidential nominee — in a closed-door speech to donors Saturday night, April 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
Trump in 2024? He says only that ‘a Republican’ will win

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Former President Donald Trump plans to affirm his… Continue reading

A cruise ship sits docked waiting for passengers to be evacuated in Kingstown, on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent, Friday, April 9, 2021 due to the eruption of La Soufriere volcano. (AP Photo/Orvil Samuel)
Ash-covered St. Vincent braces for more volcanic eruptions

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — People who ignored an initial warning to evacuate… Continue reading

Owner of 4 Point Taekwondo Kevin Mejia holds a board as organizer and martial artist Kevin Olsen breaks it in Edmonton on Friday, April 9, 2021. One hundred martial artists from around the world, will be breaking a board for an event called "Break for a Breakthrough." The idea is for martial artists to unite and re-engage with the arts because they may have drifted away or lost enthusiasm as a result of the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Break for a Breakthrough: Canadian hosts international martial arts demonstration

EDMONTON — Whether he’s breaking a wooden board, a clay tile, cement… Continue reading

Most Read