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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena said that she is going to be working with the mayors of Northern B.C. on finding a solution communities after Greyhound Canada announced its intentions to cut bus four routes, including three serving northeast B.C.
Earlier this month, Greyhound Canada announced that it would be filing an application with the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board to cut all routes in Northern B.C., and to reduce service on others. On September 13th, the company wrote a letter to the City of Fort St. John saying that it had submitted its application to eliminate the following routes in the area:
- Dawson Creek – Fort Nelson
- Fort Nelson – Yukon Border & Highway 97
- Dawson Creek – Prince George
The company said that the elimination of the routes is due to a drop in ridership of 51 percent since 2007.
Trevena told Energeticcity.ca that she has spoken with the mayors of several communities that will be affected by the proposed cuts, and also with Greyhound itself. Trevena said that she is committed to working on finding a solution with all parties, though she stated that it would be a challenge.
“I’ll be quite honest, there is no easy answer here,” said Trevena. “We’re talking about long distances. We’re not talking about the usual BC Transit model in the Highway of Tears Highway 16 corridor, its a specific way that transit has been established. I think that the needs of the North are needs for people to be able to travel safely and comparatively easily. People have the right to do that no matter where they live.”
As for the causes of Greyhound’s decreasing ridership, Trevena said she felt that there were several contributing factors.
“People have obviously tried where possible to shift to cars. We have, in certain areas, the competition from airlines. And I think the issue of the times the buses run can’t be neglected. The buses are often running at night, which makes it much more inconvenient for people. If you’ve got the choice of getting on the bus at ten in the morning or two in the morning, I think most people would want to get on the bus at ten in the morning. But, the operators have shifted to a night schedule to deal with other demands that they have.”
Trevena added that the problem of getting people to use buses instead of cars for travel is a problem that affects all areas of the province, from the Lower Mainland to Northern B.C.
The City of Fort St. John will be holding a special Council meeting this Friday afternoon where council will officially review Greyhound’s letter, as well as a report from Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall. In that report, Mayor Hall asks Prince George Council to support a draft resolution to the Union of B.C. Municipalities calling on the Passenger Transportation Board to decline Greyhound’s application.
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