By Andru McCracken

Greyhound applies to reduce buses to Valemount

The reliable, if at times shabby, pan-Canadian bus service is no more. As promised, Greyhound has ceased service in the Western provinces as of Wednesday, October 31.

A press release from British Columbia’s Ministry of Transportation said that 83% of the routes covered by Greyhound would be covered by year’s end.

Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, said she will continue to work with communities and the private sector to find solutions for the 17% of routes that will be without service.

“For so many British Columbians, reliable bus service is critical for work, family life, health care and so much more,” Trevena said. “I’m pleased that private bus operators have stepped up and worked with us to make sure British Columbians will continue to travel around our province safely and affordably.”

When news of Greyhound’s decision broke, the B.C. government – working with the Passenger Transportation Board – implemented a fast-tracked application process to replace the service with as little disruption as possible. Trevena said her priority now is to restore service to the eight route segments servicing smaller, more remote communities. The Province will issue a request for expressions of interest in the coming weeks to engage the private sector on solutions to fill these remaining gaps.

“Our government is going to work hard to make sure no communities or people are left behind,” Trevena said. “Reliable bus service is critical in making sure people feel secure in the communities they call home.”

“The Passenger Transportation Board is pleased to see reliable companies providing intercity bus service on many routes abandoned by Greyhound,” said Catharine Read, board chair, Passenger Transportation Board. “This continuity of service will be welcome for many people who rely on ground transportation to move around the province.”

The B.C. government launched BC Bus North earlier this year to cover the majority of northern routes that Greyhound eliminated. The cost is $35 to $45 per trip, with two round-trips per week between Prince Rupert and Prince George, Prince George and Valemount, and Prince George to Dawson Creek/Fort St. John and one round-trip per week from Fort Nelson to Dawson Creek/Fort St. John.

In a press release marking the end of service to Western Canada, a Greyhound executive said its decision was regrettable.

“[It] is due to a challenging transportation environment that is characterized by declining ridership in rural communities; increased competition from subsidized national and inter-regional passenger transportation services; the new entry of ultra-low-cost carriers; regulatory constraints, and increased car travel,” said Stuart Kendrick, the Senior Vice President of Greyhound Canada.

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce these service impacts for the end of October.”