Trav­el­ling light

Strat­ford woman says bus com­pany tried to short­change her over lost lug­gage

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JIM DAY

A Strat­ford woman dis­misses as “lu­di­crous’’ the amount of com­pen­sa­tion a bus com­pany first of­fered af­ter her lug­gage was lost.

Lynne Thiele, 66, es­ti­mates she had clothes, jew­elry, in­clud­ing two thick gold ear­rings, and other items with a re­place­ment value of close to $3,000 in two suit­cases that have gone miss­ing.

Thiele took a shut­tle through Mar­itime Bus from the Hal­i­fax Air­port to Char­lot­te­town on July 1 fol­low­ing a 12-day cruise around Great Bri­tain.

She saw her lug­gage loaded into cargo on the bus in Hal­i­fax.

She also saw her lug­gage trans­ported to cargo on the bus she trans­ferred to in Au­lac, N.B.

The bus stopped in Bor­denCar­leton, P.E.I., at about 8:30 p.m., let­ting off a hand­ful of pas­sen­gers.

Thiele stayed on the bus and did not no­tice her two suit­cases be­ing re­moved, which she now be­lieves must have hap­pened.

“I have no proof that it’s a theft, but ob­vi­ously some­one took it from Bor­den,’’ she says.

When she ar­rived in Char­lot­te­town as the last re­main­ing pas­sen­ger on the shut­tle bus, she and the bus driver stared into the empty cargo space.

“Nei­ther of us could be­lieve it was empty,’’ she says.

“I was think­ing some­one will bring (the two suit­cases) back to me to­mor­row. This is Prince Ed­ward Is­land. No­body wants my dresses.’’

How­ever, more than two weeks later, there is no sign of her lug­gage.

The re­tired teacher is unim­pressed with Mar­itime Bus of­fer­ing only $100 in com­pen­sa­tion plus a re­fund of her $60 bus fare.

She feels the com­pany “owes it to their cus­tomers’’ to deal with each case of lost lug­gage on an in­di­vid­ual ba­sis and not sim­ply have a blan­ket pol­icy for lost lug­gage.

Thiele, who loves to travel, says she saved a long time for her re­cent trip that cost close to $6,000.

Los­ing $3,000 worth of pos­ses­sions on top of the ex­pen­sive travel bill is an un­pleas­ant ex­tra hit.

She has also turned to her home in­sur­ance, which is look­ing into her claim, to pro­vide some re­lief.

Still, Thiele puts the lost lug­gage into perspective, not­ing in par­tic­u­lar that a friend re­cently lost a loved one.

“It’s a loss of ma­te­rial things, and that’s not the most im­por­tant thing in life,’’ she says.

How­ever, a call Mon­day to Mar­itime Bus from The Guardian ap­pears to be lining Thiele up for far more sig­nif­i­cant com­pen­sa­tion.

Wenda Pitre, vice-pres­i­dent of hu­man re­sources and cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence, says Mar­itime Bus has a pol­icy of of­fer­ing $100 per bag for lost lug­gage.

How­ever, she says the com­pany has con­cluded af­ter an ex­haus­tive in­ves­ti­ga­tion that Thiele’s lug­gage was stolen.

“We will make things right,’’ she says.

Pitre plans to meet with Thiele to­day to dis­cuss com­pen­sa­tion.

It is worth not­ing the im­proved com­pen­sa­tion of­fer is com­ing 17 days af­ter Thiele lost her lug­gage, but less than a day af­ter the me­dia got in­volved.

“It’s a loss of ma­te­rial things, and that’s not the most im­por­tant thing in life.” Lynne Thiele

JIM DAY/THE GUARDIAN

Lynne Thiele of Strat­ford says she lost close to $3,000 in clothes, jew­elry and other per­sonal items when two pieces of lug­gage went miss­ing dur­ing a bus shut­tle from Hal­i­fax to Char­lot­te­town.

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