VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Feb. 21, 2018 /CNW/ -- Greyhound Canada views the decision issued today by the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) as a necessary step toward becoming a viable, streamlined, and profitable intercity bus business.
The PTB ruled in favour of its request to eliminate and reduce service on routes that have seen a significant ridership drop in recent years. The PTB has rendered a decision that will enable Greyhound Canada to be nimble and responsive to our customers' needs and to market demand.
The PTB decision requires that most route eliminations occur no sooner than June 1, 2018 and Greyhound Canada will respect this timeline.
"We regret having to do this and appreciate the Board's acknowledgement of the difficult circumstances under which we've been operating over the past several years," said Stuart Kendrick, Senior Vice President, Greyhound Canada.
For the time being, the company's operations will remain business as usual. In instances where eliminations and route flexibility are permitted sooner, Greyhound Canada will base its decisions on passenger demand with sufficient notice to our customers for planned route changes - for example, frequencies may be increased or decreased.
"We will continue to provide fair and open communications with our customers to ensure that adequate notice is given for any planned route changes," confirmed Kendrick. "We appreciate that these changes will be difficult for our customers and staff."
Freight delivery will continue for our package customers — Greyhound is entering into partnership agreements to continue services for our freight customers.
Rationale Leading To These Changes
- Greyhound Canada has proudly provided service on B.C.'s roadways since 1929. Since 2010 however, market conditions for intercity transportation services have become increasingly challenging:
- Since 2010, ridership on these seven routes in British Columbia has dropped 51%.
- Since 2010, Greyhound's ridership in British Columbia province-wide has dropped by 46%.
- Despite a range of cost-reduction and efficiency measures over several years, factors such as urbanization, increased competition from subsidized national and inter-regional passenger transportation and ride-sharing services, and recent reductions in oil prices, which have prompted more people to travel by car, have led to this proposed change.
The company's application, which requested the following changes, was approved:
A. Discontinue service on the following seven affected routes:
- Victoria to Nanaimo
- Prince Rupert to Prince George (which includes the Prince George - Fort St. James route)
- Prince George to Alberta Border & Highway 16 (which includes the Prince George to Valemount route)
- Dawson Creek to Prince George
- Dawson Creek to Whitehorse (which includes the Dawson Creek - Fort Nelson route and the Fort Nelson - Yukon Border & Highway 97 route)
- UBC (University Endowment Lands) - Whistler
- Victoria to Vancouver
B. To eliminate a number of stops on alternate routes*, in some cases providing fewer stops to offer more convenient direct-to-destination service for travellers.
C. To have the option to reduce the minimum number of runs on other routes. These decisions will continue to be driven by public demand and will enable flexible route planning and quick response to shifting market demand.
*Re: Alternate Routes
Identifying and shifting to alternative routes is a standard transportation business practice. When ridership drops on an existing route, a different highway is selected to provide point-to-point services that are economically viable.
In instances where Greyhound Canada shifts service to an alternate highway, the term "alternate route" is used.
Examples of points of service due to alternate routes that will be eliminated on June 1, 2018 include:
-Kamloops to Kelowna [to be abandoned: Monte Lake, Westwold, Falkland, Oyama]
-Vancouver to Osoyoos [to be abandoned: Manning Park, Eastgate, Town of Princeton, Hedley, Village of Keremeos]
-Kelowna to the Alberta Border Highway 3 [to be abandoned: Beaverdell]
For a complete list, please refer to the application information posted here [PTB Weekly Bulletin, February 21, 2018]
B.C. Regulatory Review Process
- The application requesting route changes was filed on August 10, 2017 with the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board (PTB).
- The PTB's schedule of public meetings from December 11 – 14, 2017 can be found here (page 4, PTB Weekly Bulletin).
- Posting of the Board's decision: PTB Weekly Bulletin, February 21, 2018.
- Greyhound is committed to keeping customers informed about the proposed changes.
Call for a Connecting Communities Fund
All British Columbians and First Nations should have access to viable and sustainable intercity bus service. To that end, Greyhound Canada has called on the B.C. Government to create a Connecting Communities Fund that would give First Nations and rural and remote communities access to intercity bus services that would be provided by a partnership arrangement between the province, private operators and participating municipalities.
 The BC Passenger Transportation Board ("Board") is an independent tribunal in British Columbia established under the Passenger Transportation Act.
SOURCE Greyhound Canada
For further information: Veronica Rivas, Tel: (778) 996-2845, [email protected], https://www.greyhound.ca