Greyhound Canada’s proposed cuts to service in British Columbia will have a minimal impact Shuswap municipalities.
The bus service has applied to the Passenger Transportation Board to reduce services on 15 inter-city routes, as minimum daily service levels are set provincially by the board.
In its application to the board, Greyhound states intercity bus passenger companies have been experiencing serious losses for the “last number of years.” Greyhound vice-president Stuart Kendrick says in B.C. alone, Greyhound lost $14 million in 2011 on the scheduled passenger operations.
“Similar losses have been incurred in previous years. These losses are no longer sustainable,” states the application.
The only proposed route cut that would impact the Shuswap, however, is Greyhound’s Alberta border and Highway 1 to Vancouver route. The company is asking to eliminate one eastbound trip from Vancouver to Kamloops. In addition, Greyhound is also seeking to eliminate one eastbound and one westbound trip between Salmon Arm and Vancouver. Sicamous would not be affected.
The westbound bus departs Salmon Arm at 7:30 a.m. and arrives in Vancouver at 3:05 p.m. Chase and Sorrento are stops on this trip.
This cut would leave six scheduled trips for this route, and two for Chase and Sorrento.
The eastbound bus departs Vancouver at 12:30 and arrives in Salmon Arm at 9:05 p.m.
To address Greyhound’s losses, Kendrick has written B.C. Transportation Minister Mary Polak asking that the industry be deregulated.
Polak has said she is aware inter-city passenger bus service is at risk in the province, and that ministry staff are looking at options.
In the meantime, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District will be submitting a letter to the transportation board to express disappointment over the proposed service cuts. At their last meeting, CSRD directors noted the negative impact past cuts have in rural areas.
Electoral area E Rural Sicamous director Rhona Martin noted how current service levels are already difficult on rural residents, particularly seniors.
“This is just another way of eroding life in the rural area,” she said. “If you want to keep their seniors there, and they can’t drive any more…”
Martin suggested Greyhound should have sought community input before reducing service.
As well, she suggested, the company has a monopoly and if they were intent on reducing service, they should lose the monopoly.
-With files from Black Press.