Private operators to pick up much of B.C.'s Greyhound's routes, but gaps remain
Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
Published Monday, October 29, 2018 8:44AM PDT
Last Updated Monday, October 29, 2018 4:28PM PDT
VICTORIA - A patchwork of transportation service is being stitched together across British Columbia as Greyhound pulls its buses out of Western Canada, but some holes still remain in rural areas, says Transportation Minister Claire Trevena.
Private operators are moving to provide service to much of the province following Greyhound's decision to leave on Oct. 31, she said.
So far, 83 per cent of the company's routes in B.C. will be covered by private operators by the end of this year, said Trevena on Monday.
“It was a disappointing decision and it left us scrambling in Western Canada,” she said.
Citing poor economic returns, Greyhound eliminated its service in northern B.C. in May. In July, it announced its complete withdrawal of passenger and freight service in Western Canada and parts of Ontario, effective Oct. 31.
Trevena said the province launched BC Bus North earlier this year to cover the majority of northern routes that Greyhound eliminated, which included twice-weekly round trips from Prince Rupert to Prince George.
The government also tasked the Passenger Transportation Board with inviting private bus service proposals and fast-tracking applications for entrepreneurs who offer service to regional areas and smaller, more remote communities, she said.
The Passenger Transportation Board is an independent tribunal that makes decisions on the licensing of buses, taxis, limousines and shuttle vans in B.C.
“One of the private sector providers is going to be reinstating service from Vancouver to the B.C.-Alberta border by Highway 5 and Highway 1,” Trevena said. “In fact, you will be able to get on a bus in Vancouver and end up in Winnipeg.”
The board recently approved a reservation-only bus service from the Merritt area, which includes trips to Langley and Prince George. It would also provide service from Merritt to the nearby Highland Valley Copper Mine.
It has also received an application from Little Shuswap Taxi in Chase to provide reservation-only service between Salmon Arm and Kamloops, including stops at area Indigenous communities.
But Trevena said several areas of the province are still looking for some form of transportation after the Greyhound pull out.
“There are gaps and more work needs to be done,” she said. “As of today there are eight sections of routes that Greyhound was operating that haven't been filled by private operators.”
Among those areas left without service are routes from Cache Creek to Kamloops, Kamloops to Valemount and Dawson Creek to the Alberta border, Trevena said.
Other areas without service include the Hope-Princeton Highway corridor, the route between Salmo and Creston in the Kootenays and Cranbrook to the Alberta border, she said.