Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Route elimination approved for Greyhound on Highway 16 and other Northern services

The end of May will be the end of the line for Greyhound
Service between Prince Rupert and Prince George

Today was decision day for the Passenger Transportation Board and with the release of their weekly bulletin comes word of the Board's approval for Greyhound to move forward with the  elimination of Route L1 that connects Prince Rupert to Prince George.

Greyhound will be able to stop providing bus transportation services on the route as of May  31st, with the PTB selecting that date so as to keep what limited service there is in place through the winter climate schedule.

Among some of the Board's notes from their announcement today were:

These routes or route segments have extremely low ridership and very large operating losses that significantly impair Greyhound’s financial viability.

Greyhound is a for profit company. A review of the company’s financial information demonstrates that the cross-subsidization model of the past no longer holds true. There are insufficient profits on the profitable routes to subsidize its losses on these routes.

Setting a date of May 31, 2018 will provide a period for others who may be interested in providing transportation services along these corridors to apply for a licence. Applications to the Board for a licence on these routes will be expedited. 

The time period between the release of this Decision and May 31 will provide an opportunity for the provincial government to work with others on alternate transportation services, if it determines it will do so.

The Highway 16 route was one of nine routes approved for elimination today, with a number of other requests from Greyhound reduced to twice a week service.

The full announcement can be review here.

The decision comes following a number of consultation sessions hosted by the Passenger Transportation Board that were held across Northern British Columbia, two of the four sessions were hosted in the Northwest in Terrace and Smithers.

No forum was held on the North Coast.

At the same time, the PTB was soliciting written comments from the public related to the application to end the Northern routes.

Following today's announcement, the Province's Minister of Transportation Claire Trevena observed that the decision to eliminate service to the Northern communities was "unfortunate".

With the Minister noting that she would be "contacting local and First Nations officials" in the weeks to come to determine what solutions could be put in place to answer the cuts to service.

Transportation Minister
Claire Trevena will be
looking for alternatives now
that the PTB has approved the
end of Greyhound service to
many Northern communities
“Greyhound’s decision to cut service in northern and interior British Columbia is unfortunate. People rely on Greyhound’s long-haul, inter-city bus service to get to and from major cities. 

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

 “In the coming weeks, I will be speaking to local elected officials, First Nations and others affected by Greyhound’s upcoming service changes, so we can deliver long-term solutions that work for everyone."

You can review her full statement on the issue here

The Minister's statement would seem to merge nicely with the Passenger Transportation Board's notes related to others that may wish to provide a service.

Offering up the prospect that  the Province of British Columbia may step into the gap created by the end of Greyhound Service, by expanding on the Highway 16 Transportation Plan that is currently in place.

The latest shift in the transportation options for the Northwest, may also mean that the City of Prince Rupert and its regional partners on the North Coast may have to reconsider their current opposition to joining that province led initiative and providing for partial funding for a Prince Rupert to Terrace service.

Fifteen months ago the City and its regional partners chose to hold back on their participation with the Highway 16 shuttle program, instead offering their support to local alternative initiatives for transportation that are offered by the North Coast Transition Society.

In September, of 2017, City Council voted to submit a letter of concern related to the proposed elimination of Greyhound Service.

At the same time Council also forwarded a copy to Transportation Minister Claire Trevena, adding that the City was monitoring developments closely, but that no further decisions could be made until a decision was announced.

With the PTB issuing their decision today, the Mayor and City Council may wish to return to the discussion now and expand on how they see the issue for residents of Prince Rupert.

Providing some background as to what next steps they may have in mind, in order to ensure that reliable transportation remains available to those that live at the last stop on the Highway 16 corridor.

For more items related to the Greyhound files and Transportation along Highway 16 in general see our archive page here.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

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