Greyhound Canada bus in Toronto. Photo Black Press files

Greyhound applies to cut all northern B.C. service

Ride sharing and transit options blamed for lowering ridership in the past few years

Residents in the northwest may not be seeing Greyhound passenger buses in their towns anymore.

The bus company filed an application with the BC Passenger Transportation Board on August 10 to end all its bus runs in northern B.C., including Hwy 16 from Prince Rupert to Prince George.

In the application, the company blames ride sharing companies, expanded public transit options and a decline in the number of people living in rural locations for a drop in ridership.

Greyhound wants to cease operations from Prince George to Prince Rupert, Prince George to Valemount, Prince George to Dawson Creek, Dawson Creek to Whitehorse and Victoria to Nanaimo.

In a release, Stuart Kendrick, senior vice-president of Greyhound Canada, said “Despite a long-standing series of corrective measures and discussions with regulatory officials, the reality is that we can no longer operate the unsustainable routes, and we are proposing changes that will make other B.C. routes more viable.”

Greyhound Canada has provided service on B.C.’s roadways since 1929. Their “proposal” to discontinue services on five routes in B.C. is based on the rationale that ridership has since 2010 declined by 51% on these routes and ridership in province-wide has dropped by 46%.

“This decision is a regrettably unavoidable response to a challenging transportation environment that is characterized by diminishing ridership, escalating costs and increased competition from publicly subsidized services. Despite significant efforts over the past several years to reduce costs as well as other measures to adapt to the market, the status quo is no longer sustainable” said the press release.

Greyhound’s B.C. operations will continue to operate normally on these routes during the regulatory process review period. The company does not foresee any changes to operations in 2017. “Subject to the outcome of the PTB’s review of our application we do not anticipate these changes will come into effect until early 2018. We expect no impact on passenger ticketing and package transport for the remainder of this year.”

Proposed route changes are for the purposes of “route retention” and so that Greyhound Canada can “have the option to reduce the minimum number of runs on other routes” and “provide the company with the flexibility to make frequency changes in the future to match customer demand.”

“I know that the proposed route reductions will be a difficult change for affected passengers and communities, and we deeply regret having to issue this filing.”

“We are continuing our discussions regarding viable options for rural connectivity in British Columbia with the provincial and federal governments. We will continue to provide up-to-date information” said Stuart Kendrick, Senior Vice President, Greyhound Canada.

“Despite a range of cost-reduction and efficiency measures over several years, factors such as urbanization, increased competition from subsidized national and inter-regional passenger transportation and ride-sharing services, and recent reductions in oil prices, which have prompted more people to travel by car, have led to this proposed change.”

There is speculation that Greyhound will continue offering package shipping on all existing routes including the five that they propose to discontinue, but that remains to be seen.

Customer information can be found on GreyhoundBus facebook and twitter or by calling 1-800-661-8747