Barely two months after requesting to reduce or eliminate a number of routes across rural and northern B.C.,Greyhound Canada has called on the provincial government to address the growing lack of access to bus service by creating a Connecting Communities Fund.
Calling it a “made-in-BC solution” Greyhound officials said Monday in a release that the fund would leverage existing infrastructure by linking public and private resources to provide much-needed intercity bus services.
Municipalities and First Nations across BC would access the fund and seek competitive bids in an open, fair and transparent bidding process with qualified, safe and secure private sector operators who can link rural and remote citizens to regional hubs that are located on primary transportation corridors (i.e. Kelowna and Prince George).
This process, according to Greyhound, would likely be of no benefit to the company itself.The competitive process would be open to all bidders to select the best private sector transportation provider by community.
In August, Greyhound Canada filed an application with the BC Passenger Transportation Board to eliminate service on five routes — Victoria to Nanaimo; Prince George to Prince Rupert; Prince George to Valemount; Prince George to Dawson Creek and Dawson Creek to Whitehorse. According to Greyhound, these routes have experienced a 51 per cent reduction in ridership, to provide a more viable, intercity bus service.
Stuart Kendrick, Senior Vice President of Greyhound Canada said to company “deeply regrets” having to issue the filing, however, Greyhound brass feels the situation has “come to a head.”
“I know that the proposed route reductions will be a difficult change for affected passengers and communities, ” Kendrick said.
“Despite a long-standing series of corrective measures and discussions with policy makers, 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.”
Greyhound’s BC operations will continue to operate normally on these routes during the regulatory process review period and does not anticipate these changes will come into effect until 2018.
Greyhound Canada has provided service on BC’s roadways since 1929. Since 2010 Greyhound’s ridership in British Columbia province-wide has dropped by 46 per cent.