Passenger Transportation Board gives approval to Greyhound Canada to eliminate and reduce Northern BC routes

Dianne St. Jean

On Feb. 21 the Passenger Transportation Board approved Greyhound Canada’s application to eliminate or reduce certain long-haul routes within Northern BC.

That decision will leave many in rural and remote areas without transportation options, many of whom have relied on that service to travel to major centres for medical and other appointments.

Reaction from governmental and other agencies was one of disappointment and concern.

 Art Kaehn, RDFFG Chair commented that, while they respect the Passenger Transportations Board’s decision, and believe that the Board exercised thoroughness in reviewing the application, they are concerned for those in need of travel options, especially in the winter months.

“We are afraid this decision leaves many within our region without other viable transportation and furthers the isolation and lack of services available for our rural residents,” he said.

Greyhound Canada’s decision to apply for the elimination or reduction of these services is based on the expense of running those passenger services, which, although essential for some, are used too infrequently to make it viable in relation to the high cost of operation.

Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena also issued a statement of concern on the reductions.

“Eliminating and reducing service along rural and remote routes will leave people vulnerable, particularly indigenous communities, women, seniors, children and those living with disabilities,” she said.

She added that in the coming weeks she plans to speak with local elected officials, First Nations and others that are affected by the changes to try to find ways to deliver long-term solutions that work for everyone.

Trevena said that the ministry will work closely with communities to find reliable and affordable long-haul transportation, in particular for those in northern regions, so that bus services remain in place for those who depend on it.

“It is vital that people throughout the province have access to safe, reliable and affordable transportation. In the short term, my ministry will be working with Greyhound to ensure buses remain running as we work with communities to develop long-term, viable solutions that address people's needs.”  u