Regional leaders unite at Terrace Greyhound hearings

Greyhound answers questions, public concerns at Passenger Transportation Board meeting

Leaders from across Northern B.C. presented a united front opposing Greyhound’s requested withdraw from Hwy16 at the recent public hearing in Terrace Tuesday, Dec. 12.

Put on by the Passenger Transportation Board, the meeting drew close to 20 people, and included a presentation from Greyhound managers to answer questions about their operations and proposed pullout of northern routes.

Seven elected officials took the podium to express their concerns, including Terrace mayor Carole Leclerc, Deklan Corstanje from the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine, Ethan Anderson from the District of Kitimat, Franciose Godet on behalf of MP Nathan Cullen, Cal Albright from the Terrace Kermode Friendship Centre, as well as two residents, Heather Sones from Prince Rupert and Myrna Stephens from Terrace.

Together they urged the board to turn down Greyhound’s request to withdraw, saying the service is too important to the area.

The subsidized BC Transit service was made to compliment Greyhound’s service, said several of the speakers, noting that the new subsidized transit isn’t meant for longer distance travel.

Related: Terrace to Kitimat bus service launched

Besides that, transportation is fairly limited, with flights typically more expensive and Via Rail inconsistent, they said, singling out several effects of the service, including safety on the Highway of Tears, transportation between the spaced out communities, and economic and business prosperity, speakers said.

Several residents also emphasized a huge thank you to Greyhound, saying they have provided strong, consistent service that has been greatly valued for many years.

Stuart Kendrick, senior vice president of Greyhound Canada, also gave a presentation reiterating Greyhound’s challenges, and making a call for the province to create a comprehensive “Connecting Communities Fund” to subsidize transportation in the north.

Related: Greyhound calls for public-transportation fund

“It’s not what we want,” said Kendrick. “Greyhound recognizes that the proposed route reductions will be difficult for affected passengers and communities,” but the business is simply not viable, he said.

He went on to address a number of questions posed by the board and by the public at the meeting.

“Why the overnight schedule?” asked one resident, referring to the daily northbound route which leaves Prince George at 9:30 p.m. and arrives in Terrace at 6 a.m.

Kendrick said it’s because the company’s revenue is mainly coming from its parcel service, so it catered its scheduling around the parcels, which ideally arrive in the morning.

“Most of our revenue comes from the freight business, so we’ve had to adjust our schedule to meet really, the most of the revenue,” said Kendrick of the reality of doing business.

“The freight business is more of an overnight, morning delivery,” he said, adding that with the big miles they have to cover in B.C., it’s hard to service everyone in the daytime.

“But most of the answer to your question is related to the freight business,” he said. “The night time trip is the most ideal for what we are trying to do now.”

Another resident suggested reducing frequency to save costs.

Though Kendrick didn’t directly speak to the question, he did say the company has reduced services several times over the years, but it remains un-viable.

“This has been a declining trend for many years, but it’s not one that we haven’t communicated to the provincial and federal government on a regular basis,” he said. “We’ve presented many solutions to address the issue, and what you’re seeing now is ridership [averaging single digits] on all of the routes we’ve asked to discontinue.

Related: Greyhound could soon depart Northern B.C.

“A private carrier that has to rely on the fare box alone, [we] can’t sustain the losses anymore,” he said.

The idea was also posed that they could use smaller buses to reduce costs.

But Kendrick said short buses don’t last as long, are less suitable for Canadian winter roads, and have only 24 seats — no washrooms or luggage storage ideal for the longer northern routes.

He added that Greyhound does operate short buses in the rural United States, but it’s subsidized by U.S. federal grants as a rural connector program.

After the presentations, and a few closing remarks from Greyhound, the passenger board thanked residents for their input, saying the board will make its decision in early-2018.

View Greyhound’s request to the Passenger Board

Just Posted

Nearly $500,000 available for internships with northern B.C. First Nations governments

Funds announced through partnership with Northern Development and Government of Canada

Terrace husband and wife honoured for saving each other’s lives

BC Ambulance presented each a Vital Link Award for separate incidents of CPR

$15 million spent on cancelled transmition line

BC Hydro had already spent approximately $15 million on planning a new… Continue reading

College buys a yurt to boost student success

Round tent-like structure part of college instructional shift

New funding available for industry innovation

Northern Development Initiative Trust opened new funds, focused on areas impacted by the pine beetle

Solitary-confinement veto a chance to address mental health: advocate

B.C. Supreme Court made the landmark ruling Wednesday

Winter storm coming to B.C. this weekend

The bets are on as to how much snow the province will actually get in the coming days

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Global Affairs aware of report of two Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria

The foreigners were heading south from Kafanchan to Abuja when they were ambushed around Kagarko

Whistler role in potential Calgary Olympic bid would be welcome: IOC

Calgary is mulling whether to vie for the 2026 Games, and could look to facilities in B.C.

Most Read