The Passenger Transportation Board announced Wednesday that Greyhound will be allowed to discontinue the majority of its bus routes serving northern B.C.
The board, a provincial regulator of commercial bus services, approved the application by Greyhound to discontinue six full routes in north central B.C., along with three routes in southwestern B.C. and three route segments along Highway 97. Other routes throughout B.C., including routes between Prince George and Vancouver, between the Alberta Border and Dawson Creek, and between Kelowna and Vancouver will also see reductions in service.
The board stated that its decision was based on low ridership and financial losses suffered by Greyhound.
“The PT Board cannot compel a private business to sustain significant financial losses indefinitely. Greyhound said that if it eliminates 1.6 million scheduled miles, it can continue to provide 3.7 million scheduled miles of passenger bus service in central and southern B.C,” the board said in its decision.
The routes that will be eliminated are Prince George-Fort St. James, Dawson Creek-Fort Nelson, Fort Nelson-Yukon Border, Dawson Creek-Prince George, Prince Rupert-Prince George and Prince George-Alberta Border at Highway 16.
Many of these routes travel along Highway 16, the so-called "Highway of Tears," where as many as 50 women - most of them Indigenous – have disappeared or been murdered since 1969. Many of the these women were hitchhiking along this highway at the time of their disappearance.
The discontinued route segments include the routes of Highway 97 between Monte Creek and north of Vernon, Hope to Kaleden Junction via Highways 3 & 3A, and Cache Creek to Hope along the Fraser Canyon area via Highway 1.
“These routes or route segments have extremely low ridership and very large operating losses that significantly impair Greyhound’s financial viability,” the board decision stated.
These routes will continue to operate as normal until May 31, 2018.
A statement issued by the B.C. Liberal Caucus slammed the decision.
“The cancellation of Greyhound’s bus service in northern B.C. has left an entire region of the province with very few safe travel options,” said Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond in the statement.
“This is disappointing news for many of my constituents who need this bus service. It is imperative that there be immediate action to find safe, reliable transportation that northern residents deserve.”
At public hearings into the proposed discontinuation of the bus routes last December, Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall urged the Board to maintain the routes and improve the scheduling times.
"We want people to have safe travels in the north ... we'd certainly like to see schedules that are enabling folks to be safe while they are waiting for the bus," Hall said at the December hearing.
The province established a public bus route between Prince George and Prince Rupert in April of 2017. Since then, thousands have used the service. Greyhound had argued the public bus service amounted to unfair competition for its own northern routes.