Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Greyhound cuts routes to South Okanagan

If you are looking to get from Dawson Creek to FSJ or Prince George by Greyhound you can forget If you are looking to get from Dawson Creek to FSJ or Prince George by Greyhound you can forget
Nellie Chapman | 23 February, 2018, 13:26

Greyhound has operated in B.C. for 90 years and since 2004, has applied six times to eliminate routes or cut service, the board says, adding all the applications were approved based on the company's financial losses.

In its ruling, the Passenger Transportation Board explained that Greyhound's routes in the Peace Region and along Highway 16 have extremely low ridership and very large operating losses that impair the company's viability.

"The PT Board can not compel a private business to sustain significant financial losses indefinitely".

"Greyhound recognizes that passengers and communities will be negatively affected if its application for service eliminations and reductions is approved", the PTB ruling noted, "and it expresses regret and concern for those who may be impacted".

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 cuts include routes along British Columbia's so-called Highway of Tears, between Prince George and Prince Rupert; Prince George to Valemont at the Alberta border, Dawson Creek to Prince George and Dawson Creek to Whitehorse.

Many of these routes travel along Highway 16, the so-called "Highway of Tears", where as many as 50 women - majority Indigenous - have disappeared or been murdered since 1969.

At stake, the PTB said, was whether Greyhound could continue to offer any inter-city services in the province at all - unless it was allowed to cut some routes.

Numerous disappeared women were reportedly hitchhiking along the highway when they vanished, and increasing transit service was proposed as a remedy to ensure women's safety. The provincial government recently launched bus service in the area.

"It is vital that people throughout the province have access to safe, reliable and affordable transportation".

However, the Board ruled that weather conditions should improve by May 31st to a point where public safety would no longer be at risk.

"We want people to have safe travels in the north. we'd certainly like to see schedules that are enabling folks to be safe while they are waiting for the bus", Hall said at the December hearing. Since then, thousands have used the service.

"Greyhound indicates that its current financial state is critical and urgent and immediate steps are necessary to ensure its long-term financial health", it says, noting that its freight business has been subsidizing passenger operations.

The province established a public bus route between Prince George and Prince Rupert in April of 2017.