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.”

Nathan Cullen, Member of Parliament for the Skeena-Bulkley Valley area, said he had spoken to federal ministers about how crucial it is for the Northwest to have a safe, regional bus service and now needs them to show up.

“This is almost like a crisis in the making,” Cullen said. “The service has been worse and worse over the years and it’s disappointing that previous governments let it get so bad.”

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

NWCC becomes CMNT

Northwest Community College now officially Coast Mountain College

Water restrictions in effect for North Terrace, Thornhill

Residents are being asked to conserve water until further notice

B.C. turns up the heat

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for most the province due to high temperatures

Northwest Regional Airport terminal project officially opens

Celebration today marks the completion of phase one of the Terrace-Kitimat airport expansion

Terrace Peaks wraps up season with year end show

Year end awards honoured seven athletes and one director for their work this past season

Canada won’t ‘play politics’ on U.S. migrant children policy

The U.S. government is under fire over its ”zero tolerance” policy

Late goal gives England 2-1 win over Tunisia

At the last World Cup in 2014, England couldn’t even win a game

Canadian military police officer pleads not guilty to sex assault

Sgt. Kevin MacIntyre, 48, entered his plea today at a court martial proceeding in Halifax

Cheers erupt as Federal Court judge approves historic gay purge settlement

Gay military veterans said they were interrogated, harassed and spied on because of their sexuality

Remains of two people found on Vancouver Island

Officials have not said whether or not the remains belong to two missing men, last seen in Ucluelet in mid-May

Helping B.C.’s helpers cope

The MRT has helped almost 7,000 first responders and street workers in 57 communities in B.C.

Border officials argue B.C. man’s Facebook posts threat to Canada’s security

A B.C. Supreme Court judge acquitted Othman Hamdan of terrorism charges last September

Reena Virk’s mother has died

Both of Virk’s parents became activists against bullying in wake of daughter’s death

B.C. announces $75M to help friends, family care for seniors at home

Funding will go towards respite care and adult day programs

Most Read