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Mayor responds to bus cut approval

TERRACE mayor Dave Pernarowski is disappointed Greyhound’s been given approval to cancel its night time service between Prince Rupert and Prince George.

The company cited poor ridership and mounting losses in applying to the provincial government’s Passenger Transportation Board to cut service from 22 trips, some of which were during the night, to a daytime service of one each way each day for a weekly total of 14.

“I think we had very good support across the north corridor to not have any service disruption or service cuts and I think safety is one of the big reasons,” said Pernarowski in reacting to the transportation board’s decision.

But the board noted in its decision that the service would still be offered, thus satisfying a public need.

“Ridership is insufficient for Greyhound to operate above the break-even point,” said Jan Brooke, director of the Passenger Transportation Board about what the board considered in its decision.

“Minimum route frequencies … ensures that the public will continue to have interbus service on this route and will allow Greyhound to improve its financial situation.”

But there were other issues on the table to consider, acknowledged Brooke.

Public comments submitted when Greyhound filed its application brought up health and safety concerns as Hwy16 has become known as the Highway of Tears, a label attached in response to the number of women who have either been murdered or who have gone missing over the decades.

The City of Terrace did send a letter to the board, expressing concern that a Greyhound service reduction would reduce a safe mode of transportation along the highway.

“The board did note that it had received some submissions regarding the social consequences of the application and there was some comments specifically with route Hwy16,” said Brooke.

But, Greyhound is a private enterprise without govenment subsidy, said Brooke, and the board’s mandate is to balance service with economic viability for a carrier. She noted that service isn’t being eliminated, but reduced.

“The reductions allow us to reduce our frequency without abandoning any service in the province,” added Grant Odsen, a regional manager with Greyhound.

Odsen said it will likely take a month for a service change to be seen.

“The schedule that is slated for elimination is the overnight trip,” said Odsen, adding that if demand increases, so can the number of trips, and that the approved reduction sets only a minimum baseline for service.

In response to Greyhound mainting current service levels for safety issues along the highway, Odsen said the copmany would be open to discussing options with government.

“Certainly if there’s a public safety issue the public safety issue is not greyhound’s issue,” he said. “But if the province were to develop some options ... had some thoughts on how a private carrier such as Greyhound (could increase service.)”

Statistics used in its application show Greyhound has been carrying between 10 and 11 passengers per trip, on average, along Hwy16, generating approximately $2.30 of revenue per passenger mile.

The Prince Rupert-Prince George service is one of 16 Greyhound is being allowed to trim in BC.

The company says it is losing $14.1 million a year and that cutting service will reduce that loss by $6.75 million.

The City of Terrace did send a letter to the board, expressing concern that a Greyhound service reduction would reduce a safe mode of transportation along the highway.

“The board did note that it had received some submissions regarding the social consequences of the application and there was some comments specifically with route Hwy16,” said Brooke.

But, Greyhound is a private enterprise without govenment subsidy, said Brooke, and the board’s mandate is to balance service with economic viability for a carrier. She noted that service isn’t being eliminated, but reduced.

“The reductions allow us to reduce our frequency without abandoning any service in the province,” added Grant Odsen, a regional manager with Greyhound.

Odsen said it will likely take a month for a service change to be seen.

“The schedule that is slated for elimination is the overnight trip,” said Odsen, adding that if demand increases, so can the number of trips, and that the approved reduction sets only a minimum baseline for service.

In response to Greyhound mainting current service levels for safety issues along the highway, Odsen said the copmany would be open to discussing options with government.

“Certainly if there’s a public safety issue the public safety issue is not greyhound’s issue,” he said. “But if the province were to develop some options ... had some thoughts on how a private carrier such as Greyhound (could increase service.)”

Statistics used in its application show Greyhound has been carrying between 10 and 11 passengers per trip, on average, along Hwy16, generating approximately $2.30 of revenue per passenger mile.

The Prince Rupert-Prince George service is one of 16 Greyhound is being allowed to trim in BC.

The company says it is losing $14.1 million a year and that cutting service will reduce that loss by $6.75 million.

 

 

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