Greyhound cleared to end routes in northern B.C., Vancouver Island

Company says nine routes have dropped 30% in ridership in last five years

The Passenger Transportation Board approved Greyhound’s proposal to eliminate nine routes across B.C. on Wednesday.

The bus company has said it can no longer subsidize losses on unprofitable routes with revenue from the more profitable routes in the province.

In a decision posted online, the board said it can’t force a private business to suffer “significant financial losses indefinitely.”

“Greyhound said that if it eliminates 1.6 million scheduled miles, it can continue to provide 3.7 million scheduled miles of passenger bus service in central and southern B.C.,” the decision reads.

Greyhound has said the nine routes set to be eliminated by June 1 have dropped 30 per cent in ridership over the last five years, amounting to a loss of $35,000 per day, or $70 million over six years.

The company will also reduce the number of round trips and eliminate stops along 10 other routes, including from the Interior to Lower Mainland, Fort Nelson to the Yukon border, and Prince George to the Alberta border. These routes will go down to two round trips per week in the coming days.

“We regret having to do this and appreciate the board’s acknowledgement of the difficult circumstances under which we’ve been operating over the past several years,” Stuart Kendrick, Greyhound’s senior vice president, said in a statement.

Decision causes concern for safety

Since Greyhound’s proposal was made public late last year, community leaders in the north have voiced concern over safety and affordability for those needing to travel along the highway routes.

The transportation board held three community forums in cities that would be affected last December. Members heard from people who said transportation is fairly limited, with flights typically more expensive and Via Rail inconsistent.

Port Edward Mayor Dave MacDonald told Black Press Media last week a group of basketball students travelling to Prince George was stranded on a train for 27 hours, calling the service unreliable.

Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach said some people may have to take unsafe measures once the cuts are in place.

“They’re going to find another way to get to where they need to go,” Bachrach said. “And for some folks, that will involve hitchhiking.”

Highway 16, also known as B.C.’s Highway of Tears, has been linked to the disappearance of several aboriginal women along its 720 kilometres between Prince George and Prince Rupert.

However, Gladys Radek, whose niece Tamara Chipman went missing 12 years ago on Highway 16, didn’t appear to be missing the Greyhound service.

“The bus comes here really early in the morning or late, late, late at night,” Radek said, adding that it’s also expensive. “That’s why a lot of people haven’t used it.”

She pointed to safer and more affordable alternatives, such as a $5 round-trip bus connecting Prince Rupert and Terrace operated by not-for-profit groups.

Greyhound calls for federal, provincial solution

The transportation board’s decision says Greyhound must continue the nine routes until June 1, to allow time for private companies to propose alternatives.

The bus company has also renewed its call for a “sustainable intercity bus service,” to be funded as a federal and provincial subsidy with private operators and municipalities.

Mayor Bachrach said he’s already spoken with Transportation Minister Claire Trevena about the gap these soon-to-be-empty routes will leave.

In a statement Wednesday, Trevena called the board’s decision “disappointing,” and one that will leave some people vulnerable.

Trevena added she’ll be speaking to community and First Nations leaders to ensure safe, reliable and affordable long-haul transportation remains in place for those who depend on it.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Jayda Monilaws raises over $7,000 of cupcakes for Central Alberta Humane Society

This is the most the 10-year-old Red Deerian has raised so far

PHOTOS: Alberta male team takes silver in Winter Games relay speed skating

Alberta was close behind Quebec in the team relay speed skating finals

WATCH: Pet therapy brings calmness to Winter Games athletes

Canada Winter Games in Red Deer continue on until March 2nd

Jayda Monilaws is selling cupcakes again for Central Alberta Humane Society

The 10-year-old Red Deerian is selling cupcakes today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Alberta was crowned champions in Wheelchair Basketball at Canada Winter Games

Ontario won silver while Quebec took home the bronze medal

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

Child advocacy centre raising funds through Dream Home Lottery

The child advocacy centre in Red Deer uses its resources to help kids all over Central Alberta

Trudeau tells Canadians to listen to clerk in SNC-Lavalin matter

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick delivered a blunt assessment at the House of Commons justice

Mueller report looming, new attorney general in hot seat

Robert Mueller is required to produce a confidential report to pursue or decline prosecutions

B.C. woman shares story of abuse with church officials ahead of Vatican summit

Leona Huggins was the only Canadian in the gathering ahead of a historic summit at the Vatican

Sylvan Lake’s Megan Cressey misses Freestyle Skiing Big Air podium

Alberta’s Jake Sandstorm captured silver in the men Freestyle Skiing Big Air contest

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

Most Read