WHEN Greyhound ends its bus service on Wednesday, October 31, 83% of its routes will be covered by other private operators by year’s end, meaning British Columbians will still be able to travel safely, affordably and reliably through most of the province.
Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, said on Monday that she will continue to work with communities and the private sector to find solutions for the 17% of routes that will be without service.
“For so many British Columbians, reliable bus service is critical for work, family life, health care and so much more,” Trevena said. “I’m pleased that private bus operators have stepped up and worked with us to make sure British Columbians will continue to travel around our province safely and affordably.”
When news of Greyhound’s decision broke, the B.C. government – working with the Passenger Transportation Board – implemented a fast-tracked application process to replace the service with as little disruption as possible. Trevena said her priority now is to restore service to the eight route segments servicing smaller, more remote communities. The Province will issue a request for expressions of interest in the coming weeks to engage the private sector on solutions to fill these remaining gaps.
“Our government is going to work hard to make sure no communities or people are left behind,” Trevena said. “Reliable bus service is critical in making sure people feel secure in the communities they call home.”
“The Passenger Transportation Board is pleased to see reliable companies providing intercity bus service on many routes abandoned by Greyhound,” said Catharine Read, board chair, Passenger Transportation Board. “This continuity of service will be welcome for many people who rely on ground transportation to move around the province.”
The B.C. government launched BC Bus North earlier this year to cover the majority of northern routes that Greyhound eliminated. The cost is $35 to $45 per trip, with two round-trips per week between Prince Rupert and Prince George, Prince George and Valemount, and Prince George to Dawson Creek / Fort St. John and one round-trip per week from Fort Nelson to Dawson Creek / Fort St. John.
Bus service timeline
- September 2017: Greyhound Canada announced it was applying to eliminate service along six routes in northern British Columbia, one route in the Lower Mainland and two routes on Vancouver Island, as well as a reduction in service frequency on all other B.C. routes.
- December 2017: The Passenger Transportation Board held public hearings in the north-central region of B.C. to assess public need for service.
- February 2018: The Passenger Transportation Board approved Greyhound’s application to withdraw service no sooner than May 31, 2018.
- May 2018: Greyhound provided notice of elimination of all northern B.C. passenger service, as of May 31, 2018.
- June 2018: The Province launched BC Bus North, a provincially funded, base-level, interim service to cover the majority of routes in northern B.C. formerly covered by Greyhound.
- July 2018: Greyhound announced its full withdrawal of passenger and freight intercity bus service from Western Canada and parts of Ontario, effective October 31, 2018, including the 10 remaining routes in B.C.
- July 2018: The B.C. government and the Passenger Transportation Board announced fast-tracking of applications to minimize the impact to communities.
- October 2018: The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, along with the Passenger Transportation Board, announced six applications were fast-tracked, with three applications pending.