Greyhound bus passengers traveling to and from Prince George will have less frequent service options as a result of scheduling changes approved Tuesday by the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB)
The Highway 16 route between Prince George and Prince Rupert has been cut from a minimum of 22 total weekly trips to 14, but will maintain its current daily schedule of at least one trip in each direction. Fort St. James will see its weekly schedule of trips to and from Prince George reduced from six to one.
The board approved reductions for 15 bus routes in the province in an application filed in September by Greyhound Canada Transportation ULC (GCTU). The minimum frequency along the Prince George-Vancouver route was chopped from three daily trip each way to two per day. Dawson Creek-Prince George was reduced from 24 trips per week to 14, and weekly stops at Bear Lake were cut from 19 to 14.
Greyhound claims it lost $14.1 million on its scheduled passenger operations in B.C. during the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2012, which exceeded Greyhound's total losses for Canada in 2008-09. As reasons for its losses, Greyhound cites higher fuel and maintenance costs, reduced ridership, provincial regulations that do not allow rapid responses to changing market and economic conditions, and the existence of unregulated competition from provincial agencies including BC Transit and the Interior and Northern Health Authorities.
"The board is of the view that, on balance, it is in the broader public interest to maintain services on GCTU's scheduled routes, even with decreased options or scheduling inconveniences, than to have GCTU abandon its B.C. operation altogether in order to stem severe operating losses," cites the board, in its licence amendment decision report.
"Given the above, the board finds that the service reductions proposed by the GCTU will provide an adequate level of service to the public."
Other Greyhound routes approved for minimum frequency reductions were: Kelowna-Penticton, Vancouver-Rock Creek, Alberta-Dawson Creek, Kelowna-Alberta (Highway 3), Dawson Creek-Fort Nelson, Alberta-Vancouver (Highway 16), Kelowna-Vancouver, Vancouvr-Mt. Currie, Victoria-Nanaimo, and Nanaimo Campbell River. The Victoria-Mt. Washington alpine resort route was eliminated.
Rate reductions will take effect in two weeks, with the exception of Vancouver-Mt. Currie (21 days) and Victoria-Mt. Washington (seven days).