Greyhound Canada will no longer offer bus and freight services in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, and is cancelling all but one route—between Vancouver and Seattle—in B.C.
The service changes will take effect in October, and will leave Ontario and Quebec as the only provinces where the company will offer bus service.
“This decision is regretful and we sympathize with the fact that many small towns are going to lose service,” Greyhound Canada senior vice-president Stuart Kendrick told The Canadian Press.
“But simply put, the issue that we have seen is the routes in rural parts of Canada—specifically Western Canada—are just not sustainable anymore.”
Kendrick cited decreasing ridership (a 41 per cent decline since 2010), competition with other passenger transportation services, and the growing popularity of low-cost airline travel and car ownership as some of the factors that led to the decision.
Without Greyhound, over 60 communities in B.C. will be left with little to no way of connecting with each other.
Today, Greyhound connects 60 different communities in British Columbia with one another.
Here are the cities, towns, villages and communities directly affected by them leaving Western Canada. pic.twitter.com/7xBn0CL8ql
— Justin McElroy (@j_mcelroy) July 9, 2018
(Note: McElroy did not include Kelowna in his count, which brings the total number of communities to 61.)
BC NDP calls Greyhound decision ‘hugely problematic’
On Monday, Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, expressed her disappointment with Greyhound’s decision.
“Greyhound’s decision to completely eliminate service in Western Canada by Oct. 31, 2018, is hugely problematic for people who depend on Greyhound in the Interior, Sea-to-Sky, and to get to and from Alberta,” Trevena said in a release. “This move will leave people with limited options to get around, and this will likely impact the most vulnerable.”
Trevena criticized the company for not communicating its plans sooner, and said “at no point did Greyhound reach out to me, or my staff, to have a conversation on solutions to keep people connected—something I would have expected, given their long history in this province.”
The BC Liberals, meanwhile, blamed Greyhound’s decision on BC NDP “inaction.”
“This is totally unacceptable,” said BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson. “Seniors, students and families rely on those bus routes to travel between communities. We’re seeing a repeat of how the NDP previously handled Greyhound’s plans to reduce northern service—months of inaction, leading to a total loss of service.”
Trevena said her ministry will be working with other service providers to ensure that safe and reliable transportation is available for British Columbians in affected areas.