Greyhound calling for intercity bus travel to be subsidized like city buses

The Greyhound bus station in Fort St. John. File photo.

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Greyhound Canada is calling on the provincial government to subsidize intercity bus companies as public hearings into the company’s application with the Passenger Transportation Board to cut service to Northern B.C. began yesterday.

Greyhound said in a release yesterday that it is encouraging the creation of a Connecting Communities Fund which it said would provide rural and remote communities require transportation connections to larger centres that provide essential health services, employment opportunities and post-secondary education. The company pointed out that governments at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels spend billions annually on urban transit services, and that BC’s rural communities deserve transportation investments as well.

The company said municipalities and First Nations would be able to seek competitive bids with qualified private sector operators to link rural and remote residents with regional hubs on primary transportation corridors, giving Prince George and Kelowna as examples.

The company explained that it was not guaranteed to benefit from such a funding model, as a competitive process would be open to all bidders to attempt to provide the best private sector transportation for a given community.

Greyhound Canada’s Senior Vice President, Stuart Kendrick, issued the following statement with yesterday’s announcement.

“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. The situation has come to a head, however, and despite a long-standing series of corrective measures and discussions with policymakers, the reality is that we can no longer operate the unsustainable routes, and we are proposing changes that will make other BC routes more viable.

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, signifying our ongoing commitment to our customers.”